Anorexia Nervosa is not a “girl thing”. Approximately one million men report suffering from male anorexia or bulimia in the US; as reported by the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). The key word here is “report”. Many men are too embarrassed to admit having an eating disorder due to the stigma of anorexia being a female or gay man’s affliction. Unfortunately this train of thought obstructs men from seeking essential, medical treatment which puts them in harm’s way.
The Proof is in the Pudding
NBC News reports Harvard psychiatry professor, Dr. James Hudson, conducted an in-depth study in 2007 of eating disorders among men and women. The study revealed that male anorexia or bulimia presented in one out of four people in the United States suffering from eating disorders. This surprisingly reversed preceding calculations that ninety percent of people suffering from eating disorders were female.
Dr. Hudson stated, “It appears that the prevalence of the disorder is increasing among boys.” He continued, “It may be that boys are simply more comfortable coming forward now than in the past.”
Signs and Symptoms of Male Anorexia
Any eating disorder is a serious illness that should be treated with urgency. Males and females alike are wise to heed the warning signs of eating disorders and seek immediate help; putting all reservations aside. Rest assured, eating disorder treatment facilities and medical professionals adhere to the strictest level of confidentiality.
The NEDA has compiled an extensive listing of the behavioral, emotional, and physical tell-tale signs of male anorexia. Here is an abbreviated listing:
- Excessive dieting
- Obsession with body building
- Uncomfortable eating in public
- Always feeling fat even when overly thin
- Isolating from others
- Decreased interest in sex
- Unsure of sexual orientation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low blood pressure
- Hair loss
- Heart arrhythmia
- Low testosterone levels
Untreated, male anorexia can result in severe illness or in some cases death. Be mindful of these red flags and seek treatment without hesitation.