Eating Disorders & Men

Men get Eating Disorders too.

Just like girls and women, boys and men get anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Many males describe themselves as compulsive eaters, and some may have binge eating disorder. There is no evidence to suggest that eating disorders in males are atypical or somehow different from the eating disorders experienced by females.

How many?

The numbers are increasing.

Health professionals see many more females than males, but that may be because males are reluctant to confess having what has become known as a "women's problem."

Also, health professionals do not expect to see eating disorders in males and may therefore underdiagnose them.

The risk factors.

Risk factors for men include:

  • Being overweight as children and a history of dieting.
  • Participation in a sport or profession that demands thinness.
  • Some gay men who feel under pressure to achieve a high level of physical attractiveness.

How are men different?

Males often begin an eating disorder at older ages than females do, and they more often have a history of obesity or overweight.

If males have body concerns, they often want to bulk up and become larger and more muscular.

Males usually equate thinness with weakness and frailty, things they desperately want to avoid.

Treatment for men.

Because eating disorders are often described as female problems, males can be reluctant to admit they need help.

Most treatment programs and support groups have been designed for females and are populated exclusively by females. Males can feel uncomfortable and out of place in a female-oriented group situation.

The research is clear that males who complete treatment given by competent professionals have good outcomes.

We have ACFED approved practitioners who are male, so that males can feel comfortable talking to someone they can relate to.