Of all the millions of people in the United States that are suffering from eating disorders, only 10% of that is men.  Eating disorders in men aren’t often associated with them because it has long been believed to be something that only effects women.  This just isn’t true.  Men do have eating disorders and it can be detrimental and even deadly to their health if they do nothing for it.

Learn about Eating Disorders in Men

While Anorexia and Bulimia do exist in men, eating disorders in men usually revolve around overeating or compulsive eating.  In homosexual men, there is more chance for Anorexia or Bulimia than in heterosexual men.  Since so many of the therapy groups surrounding eating disorders are filled with women, men feel isolate without anywhere to turn.

 

Behavioral Characteristics:

  • Excessive dieting, fasting, restricted diet
  • Food rituals
  • Preoccupation with body building, weight lifting, or muscle toning
  • Compulsive exercise
  • Difficulty eating with others, lying about eating
  • Frequently weighing self
  • Preoccupation with food
  • Focus on certain body parts; e.g., buttocks, thighs, stomach
  • Disgust with body size or shape
  • Distortion of body size; i.e., feels fat even though others tell him he is already very thin

 

Emotional and Mental Characteristics:

  • Intense fear of becoming fat or gaining weight
  • Depression
  • Social isolation
  • Strong need to be in control
  • Rigid, inflexible thinking, “all or nothing”
  • Decreased interest in sex or fears around sex
  • Possible conflict over gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Low sense of self-worth—uses weight as a measure of worth
  • Difficulty expressing feelings
  • Perfectionistic — strives to be the neatest, thinnest, smartest, etc.
  • Difficulty thinking clearly or concentrating
  • Irritability, denial — believes others are overreacting to his low weight or caloric restriction
  • Insomnia

 

Physical Characteristics:

  • Low body weight (15% or more below what is expected for age, height, activity level)
  • Lack of energy, fatigue
  • Muscular weakness
  • Decreased balance, unsteady gait
  • Lowered body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate
  • Tingling in hands and feet
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Lanugo (downy growth of body hair)
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Lowered testosterone levels

 

Understanding Eating Disorders in Men

Eating disorders in men do exist and they need to be dealt with.  Men don’t have to be left in the dark to die from their poor relationship with food.  Help is out there, go and search for it.  Help someone you know with an eating disorder today!