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Living with Stressorexia

Sure, we’ve all skipped lunch in order to cram in another hour of work or to accommodate our children’s busy schedules. But frequent meal skipping is leading to a much more serious eating disorder among working moms.

A new condition, coined by Dr. Adrian Lord, a British psychiatrist, is entering the mainstream lexicon: “stressorexia” is a combination of depression, work- and family-induced anxiety and anorexic-type symptoms. And, its draining energy from mothers in their late 20s to 40s who are unwilling or unable to reduce their workloads.

Dallas-area Dietitian Laura May says she comes across the symptoms of stressorexia quite often (though it’s not recognized as an official diagnosis).

Comparing the disorder to “caregiver’s syndrome,” May says that moms prioritize family or work, forcing them to skip meals and “experience extreme fatigue, irritability and headaches.”

May suggests planning meals ahead of time and noshing — especially on protein sources such as almonds — every four to five hours. “If possible, carry a portable snack or make a snack drawer at your office,” she says.

Most importantly, moms who properly nourish themselves set a good example for children. May adds: “It might take scheduling lunchtime in your PDA. Even if you don’t have time for a full-blown meal, you’re making time to care for yourself.”