Male Eating Disorders
Male Eating Disorders
It has been many years that eating disorders have appeared to be the domain of women.
It is true that a majority of varying eating relating disorders have mostly affected women but a lot of this has been related to perception of self and also self esteem issues.
There is little research about men and eating disorders and due to the changes in society and the varying expectations of men and how they are supposed to be in this ever changing society, men seem to have almost been passed over when it comes to problems normally associated to women.
For male eating disorders it is much more difficult to openly show, admit or discuss the possibility that they may have an eating disorder and “unacceptable” to seek help and advice to make changes the problems they have. It seems that men’s issues can be easily forgotten in the therapeutic world and how difficult it can be approach anyone for assistance.
Now, as expected, a majority of anorexic clients I have seen have been women, however, I have seen anorexic male clients and certainly clients who are verging on anorexia with very strong traits. Male eating disorders tend be disregarded more and not actioned until the client actually asks for help rather than being recognised by others.
Quite frankly – male eating disorders have had a much better success rate than women.
The main area has been bulimia – in fact a majority of the clients I have seen for bulimia have been men, about 80% of my bulimic clients have been male sufferers.
Now, with bulimia, there are often other symptoms of an OCD behaviour which frequently means there are other behaviours as well which appear to be addictions. On many occasions they are not addictions but in fact an obcessive behaviour which is actually easier to deal with and frequently when you remove one beviour – the others will go as well.
So – why are male eating disorder number increases happening?
I do have a view about this. With the roles of men and women changing so rapidly there is an immense pressure on men to conform to how they should look, act, be in a relationship, react etc. It seems very similar to what happened to women about 20 years ago.
Now, men are being encouraged to be conscious of their look and presentation and needing to conform plus that now their role as “breadwinner” has completely changed and is being changed by the appearance of very strong and capable women, which, should certainly be seen as a threat and additional stress.
There is also the added pressure of “success”. More importance is being placed on being seen as successful and this is highly stressful which manifests itself in many ways – including eating related problems and anxiety issues.
Personally, from being brought up in a male environment from 13 years old, being in a predominantly male sport and therefore most of my friends and associates being male, I have listened and learned about issues which possibly are overlooked in the mainstream therapeutic industry.
I would like more awareness raised about men’s issues as I feel they are continually overlooked and now is the time to pay more attention to it and listen a great deal more.
If you would like to deal any of the issues raised here then also look the list of individual eating related disorder pages and contact me to arrange a confidential appointment to deal with this now.
You may also be interested in the problem known as Bigorexia - the male body dysmorphia.