Males & Eating Disorders
Most people probably don't realize that 10 percent of people seeking treatment of an eating disorder are male. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are usually thought to be disorders affecting women. However, in the past few decades, more and more men and boys have come forward with significant eating-disorder symptoms.
The increase in general "life stress," especially with adolescents could be one reason. The continued pressure by the media on all young adults to look "perfect" is probably another big factor why more males are struggling.
Whatever the reason, males with eating disorders are fairly similar to their female counterparts in the symptoms they present. They can obsess over fat and have distorted body images. They usually struggle with feelings of inadequacy or low self esteem . They often have difficult family situations and may have another family member with weight control issues. The excessive dieting or weight control is used as an unhealthy coping mechanism for difficult emotional situations. Whether it's restrictive eating, binging and purging or obsessive exercise, all forms of eating disorder symptoms are treatable with a good therapist and dietitian.
Males who are motivated for treatment seem to do very well with recovery. Finding qualified specialists is key to recovery. A dietitian, psychiatrist, if needed, and a therapist who specializes in eating disorders is a must for anyone looking to overcome their eating disorder. Males can expect to fully recover if they follow the correct guidelines for treatment.