Contrary to the misconception that anorexia and other eating disorders solely afflict women, it has now been proved that people of all genders can suffer from eating disorders. In fact, they are becoming increasingly prevalent in males now. Many researchers believe that the situation is much worse than it looks on the surface.
Types Of Eating Disorders In Males:
Bulimia nervosa: Bulimia nervosa or bulimia, is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging.
Anorexia Nervosa: An eating disorder where people obsessed with their bodyweight start starving themselves and get a distorted body image.
Binge Eating Disorder: Getting obsessed with food and frequently eating unusually large amounts of food at one time.
Features Of Eating Disorders In Males:
Eating disorders are more prevalent in older males
They often have to deal with other psychiatric problems such as anxiety and depression or are drug addicts.
Anorexic males tend to show suicidal behaviors than females with eating disorders.
Males with a history of being overweight often end up dealing with eating disorders.
Instead of indulging in typical purging behaviors anorexic males take up exercise as a compensatory behavior.
For males, being body-conscious and anorexic is a stigma and it makes it difficult for them to accept it and seek treatment.
In men, eating disorders are muscularity-oriented. Known as muscle dysmorphia or bigorexia, the male eating disorder was also termed as reverse anorexia initially.
Muscle dysmorphia comes under the category of body dysmorphia, a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Contrary to the anorexic females who aim for thinner bodies, muscle dysmorphic males want to look bigger and more muscular which is viewed as the ideal male body.
The behavioral symptoms include compulsive exercise, protein supplements, and dietary restriction. They use supplements and other performance-enhancing drugs or steroids.
There is a common myth that says that most males with eating disorders are gay. In fact, a study conducted in the year 2007 which showed the percentage compared to heterosexual males, anorexia nervosa was more prevalent in gay males.
But contrary to this myth, the fact remains that most males with eating disorders are heterosexual while gay males can have more eating disorders.
According to the National Association for Males with Eating Disorders, 25 to 40 percent of people with all eating disorders are males. Among eating disorder diagnoses, binge eating disorder and Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) are more prevalent in males. In one study of children in a pediatric gastroenterology network, 67 percent of those diagnosed with ARFID were male.
At present, there are no specific treatments for eating disorders in males. However, they too respond well to treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and family-based treatment (FBT) that have been successful for females with eating disorders.
If you are someone suffering from eating disorders, then don’t hesitate from taking proper medical help.