Men and Eating Disorders
According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 30 million Americans struggle with a “clinically significant eating disorder.” While we most commonly think of this population as young women, one third of those affected are men.
Social Stigma, Men and Eating Disorders
So why are eating disorders still considered a women’s issue?
It may be that men are far less likely to seek professional help for their eating disorders. At least, that was the conclusion of one 2014 study.
ABC News quotes study authors Ulla Raianen of the University of Oxford and Kate Hunt of the University of Glasgow.
“Men with eating disorders are under-diagnosed, under-treated and under-researched…Our findings suggest that men may experience particular problems in recognizing that they may have an eating disorder as a result of the continuing cultural construction of eating disorders as uniquely or predominantly a female problem.”
Men and Eating Disorders: The Warning Signs
Acknowledging one’s eating disorder can be difficult for an individual and his or her family and peers. This can be especially true of men struggling with eating disorders.
“I think many parents are very concerned that their daughter would develop an eating disorder, but they may not have the same concerns about their son.” -Alison Field, associate professor at Harvard Medical School (USA Today)
It is important to recognize that eating disorders do not discriminate and that not all eating disorders look the same.
The following signs may be indicative of an eating disorder:
- Dramatic weight loss or gain (binge eating disorder)
- Fixation on food, calories, dieting, or other eating habits
- Skipping meals or avoiding eating with or around others
- Fixation on exercising to extreme degrees
- Stomach pain and constipation
- Wearing large clothing to hide body
- Evidence of purging (using the bathroom immediately after meals)
- Hoarding food
NEDA now offers a free online screening test for eating disorders.
GenPsych Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL) Program
The HEAL Program at GenPsych is a highly effective, research-based program specifically designed to help adolescents and adults suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Eating Disorders NOS (Not Otherwise Specified), and related disorders. Through individual and group treatment, you will decrease eating disorder symptoms, learn balanced eating, and develop healthy ways to cope.
For more information, click here.