If You Think Eating Disorders Only Affect The Young, Think Again

03/02/2015 01:34 pm ET | Updated Mar 02, 2015

Eating disorders see no age, and a group of women opened up to HuffPost Live on Friday about having struggled and recovered from eating disorders later in life.

Judith Shaw, a yoga instructor and artist who received treatment when she was 53 years old, told host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani that her age could have prevented physicians from seeing the "red markers" of her eating disorder.

"I lost my period in my late 40s. Now, somebody could have thought that was early menopause, but I knew that it was because I wasn't eating enough fat to produce the estrogen for my period to happen," Shaw said. "I also was anemic. I mean, these are all classic symptoms of an eating disorder."

A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that 13 percent of women 50 and over experienced symptoms of an eating disorder over the past five years, according to the National Eating Disorder Association. But while the overwhelming majority of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26, those suffering later in life still deserve the same help.

June Alexander, who said she was 55 years old when she finally "reconnected" herself with her body, advised all people suffering to "get help now."

"It's going to eat your soul up inside," she said. "Reach out for help straight away because easy intervention is the key. The sooner we get help, the sooner the entrenched thoughts can be attended to and you can get on and be your true self. When we self-love rather than self-harm, we can achieve anything."

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