The Hidden Health Issue He’s Not Talking About: Male Eating Disorders

by on October 18th, 2010 at 3:00 am

While clinical reports say that one out of ten patients with an eating disorder is male, many researchers and clinical psychologists estimate that number to be much greater, largely due to cultural differences between men and women. Generally speaking, the media portrays the societal ideal for men as muscular, strong, and athletic, emphasizing body mass and definition versus weight loss, the primary focus for women.

Along with striving to attain this highly desired masculine physique, maintaining “masculine behavior” is also often highly valued, which would stereotypically dismiss freely discussing emotions and psychological problems and shun the idea of seeking help. However, these behaviors perpetuate the perhaps false notion that anorexia and bulimia are predominantly female issues.

Men suffering from eating disorders suffer the same health consequences as women, so the matter should never be taken lightly. However, getting your son, brother, partner, or friend to get the help he may need will likely need to be approached differently, so address the situation in a non-confrontational manner and seek professional advice if you don’t feel like you are able to help.

Possible warning signs:

  • You notice problems with school, work, and his social life
  • His demeanor has changed, and he seems withdrawn, unhappy, or depressed
  • Eating habits have changed, such as irritability regarding mealtimes or refusal to eat in situations where he cannot control the food
  • He seems overly preoccupied with his body and works outs excessively

A good approach to combating any eating disorder is a holistic one that incorporates various treatment options to help restore healthy eating patterns and exercise behavior, as well as healthy lifestyle changes and learning to address emotions and psychological problems.

One Response to “The Hidden Health Issue He’s Not Talking About: Male Eating Disorders”

  1. Laura Kreiger, LCSW

    Nov 16th, 2010

    Approximately 10 % of those suffering from eating disorder are men. For more information on eating disorders in men you can visit:

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