Eating disorders are usually overlooked in men. Much of the media attention devoted to bulimia and anorexia nervosa tends to focus on women.
Karen Carpenter made headlines when she passed away as a result of her struggle with anorexia. Lily Allen has been vocal about her bulimia. Victoria Beckham openly admitted in her biography that she suffered from an eating disorder when she found fame in the Spice Girls.
It is no secret that women are under enormous pressure to be slim. Body weight is inextricably linked to attractiveness so women in the public eye often become obsessed with their appearance. But what about men: how likely are they to suffer from an eating disorder?
Cultural and Media Pressure to Conform
Women are more likely to suffer from an eating disorder, but many people with an eating disorder are male. Men are under increasing pressure to fit society’s norm of the ideal body. Social media websites such as Instagram and Facebook are full of men sporting six-packs, buff bodies, and zero-percent body fat. The average man sitting down at a desk all day, juggling family and work responsibilities, has no chance of achieving this. There are literally not enough hours in the day.
Most men don’t care all that much. They might not be happy with their ‘dad bod’, but a bit of teasing in the changing room after a Saturday morning soccer session is not enough to prevent them from hitting the local bar for a few beers. For a small minority however, cultural and media pressure to have the perfect body pushes them into a full-blown eating disorder.
Potential Causes of an Eating Disorder
There are many risk factors for men. Boys, who are or have been bullied at school, perhaps because they were overweight, are more likely to develop an eating order. Men who are perfectionists and who place undue importance on their physical appearance are more vulnerable to an eating disorder. Men who feel the need to be in control of their life are also at risk, usually when things go badly wrong and the only way they can deal with the stress is by controlling what they eat.
Seeking Help for an Eating Disorder
The biggest problem with eating disorders in men is that men are less likely to seek help. There is a lot of stigma attached to mental health problems, including eating disorders. Vulnerability is not a masculine trait; so many men are in denial that they have a problem.
There is help out there, but in order to access eating disorder treatment for men from a specialist center such as Prescott House, the person has to admit they have a problem. The sooner a man recognizes the signs and begins a treatment plan, the sooner he will recover. You can learn more about the types and symptoms of an eating disorder from the National Eating Disorder Association. Don’t hold off learning more today.
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