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Revista chilena de neuro-psiquiatría

On-line version ISSN 0717-9227


BEHAR, Rosa. Eating disorders in adult (mature) women. Rev. chil. neuro-psiquiatr. [online]. 2018, vol.56, n.3, pp.177-185. ISSN 0717-9227.


There is evidence of an increasing number of middle-aged women suffering from eating disorders (ED).


To describe women in adulthood with eating disorders, in relation to their epidemiological, aetiopathogenic, clinical, evolutionary and therapeutic characteristics.


A comprehensive literature search was carried out using the electronic databases MEDLINE/PubMed, SciELO and the Cochrane Library, as well as specialized consultation texts, from 1984 to present (2017).


Clinical characteristics and most of the risk factors (biological, psychological, sociocultural) are similar to those found in younger women, and may be more likely the continuation of a previous ED or a late onset of the pathology. The most distinctive and relevant variables for middle-aged women are menopause and anxiety related to aging, who seem to be less likely to develop anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, but rather binge eating disorder and other unspecified and specified threshold EDs. Depression and systemic physical comorbidities are very common. The therapeutic management is multidisciplinary and the lack of adherence implies a chronic outcome.


Physicians should bear in mind the increased risk of EDs in peri-menopausal women, when changes in physical appearance can be drastic, unexpected and undesirable, and should strive to explore this possibility in their daily clinical practise.

Keywords : Women; adulthood; eating disorders.

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