When It Comes to Eating Disorders, Men Often Suffer in Silence

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One of the most overlooked aspects of eating disorders is that a great many sufferers are men. In fact, recent estimates by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders suggest that men account for one million of the roughly eight million Americans suffering from eating disorders. Dr. Gregory Jantz, PhD, an internationally renowned eating disorder specialist, author and founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, a residential treatment facility in Edmonds, Washington, says that the shame of suffering from what is often characterized as a women’s issue often keeps men from seeking the help they need. In addition, men who seek help often find that treatment programs that address the specific needs of men aren’t readily available.

While some of the same traits of eating disorders appear in both men and women, for men these conditions have more to do with body mass and muscular definition and not extreme weight loss. In a society in which mass media often deal in the idealization of certain body types, men are not immune. Symptoms of eating disorders in men may include:

>>Starvation and obsessive dieting

>>Fear of weight gain

>>Binging and purging

>>Obsessive exercising

>>Feelings of disgust

>>Low self-esteem

>>Depression

In addition to the awkwardness and shame many men with eating disorders feel, those who do seek help often find that treatment facilities are not prepared to deal with the unique body image issues and masculine emotions behind these disorders.

“Too many men are suffering from anorexia and bulimia in silence, with devastating effects,” says Dr. Jantz. “As a society we need to move away from the perception that eating disorders are a women’s issue. Men and women are both at risk, and no man suffering from an eating disorder should feel too embarrassed or ashamed to seek help.”

The Center for Counseling and Health Resources offers custom treatment programs for men affected by eating disorders. The Center and its “whole-person” approach to recovery have proven very effective in helping to affect lasting recoveries in patients. You may reach The Center by calling (888) 771-5166, or through its website at aplaceofhope.com.