Eating disorder sees no gender. Although it strikes more women, it can also affect men. In fact, statistics show that about 10% of those treated are males. But the real numbers could be higher since most men don’t seek treatment because there’s a stereotype that only women can have it.
The good news is when loved ones are able to create a loving, non-judgmental atmosphere at home, breaking through the culture of shame, men are more likely to get the treatment they need.
Men Who are at Risk
Similar to women, body image is one of the core issues of men suffering from eating disorder. This is largely due to the unrealistic portrayal of the male body on media. The body is supposed to look toned, chiseled, and muscular, according to ads about weight loss. Bombarded with such messages, some men would have distorted body image, growing dissatisfied with their appearance.
In the case of bulimia, men may not do self-induced vomiting like women, but they will most likely purge through excessive exercise or overtraining.
Of course, there are other risk factors. Some men develop bulimia to cope with other mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. The treatment for bulimia eating disorder, Westport health experts explain, should then focus on rehabilitating the mind, helping sufferers develop healthier ways of thinking.
Dignity in Treatments
The first step towards treatment is acknowledging that someone needs it. This isn’t simple for male patients. Some deny that they could be suffering the disorder due in part to society’s thinking that it’s only women who can develop it. Like other patients, they would justify their behaviors as being health-conscious. When they do recognize that there indeed is something wrong, they face another layer of stigma getting treatment: it’s unmanly to go to a therapist.
Breaking these stereotypes start with the family members since these are the ones closest to the patient. Create a safe space in your home where people feel dignified when they talk about their struggles. Educate yourself about the disorder. If you think that someone is suffering, express that you’re concerned about their health. Your goal is to have them consult a doctor, at the very least.
An eating disorder doesn’t discriminate. Men can be anorexics and bulimics, too. Help your loved one feel a sense of dignity in seeking treatment.