Male Anorexia – The “Invisible” Eating Disorder
When most people think of anorexia, they think of high-end fashion models starving themselves to fit into ridiculously small pieces of clothing, maintaining unrealistic body conditions in order to fill some kind of superficial and consumerist desire while systematically destroying their health along the way. What they don’t realize is how prominent male anorexia is with the male population.
And while the overwhelming majority of cases of anorexia (and most every eating disorder, for that matter) are linked closely to women, 20% of the people living with anorexia are men – even though this medical condition gets nowhere near as much attention as it does when women are battling it.
Male anorexia is a very serious and debilitating condition, and unfortunately, it just doesn’t have as much notoriety or have as much respect paid to it by the medical community as the female variety does. This is certainly changing, but it will still be quite a while until men are able to receive the kind of help that females do when they are battling an eating disorder.
Professionals Are Only Just Now Starting to Appreciate the Dangers of Male Anorexia
Even just a decade ago the overwhelming majority of professional dietitians and clinical experts combating eating disorders believed that only about 5% of all individuals dealing with anorexia were male – leading these professionals to spend the overwhelming majority of their time focusing on providing solutions for women as they represented the group of people most at risk.
Today we understand that nothing could have been further from the truth – even back then about 20% of all people dealing with anorexia were men – but we also now understand that this kind of thinking had a disastrous impact on the rates of male anorexia, almost compelling them to skyrocket out of control simply because help didn’t exist.
Some experts in Canada believe that the number of male anorexia cases represents close to 30% of these eating disorders, and there are even those in Europe that believe the number is creeping up on 40% as we lead a social media connected lifestyle that is always giving attention to those with the perfect beach body.
Why Are Male Anorexia Cases Ignored?
It’s difficult to really describe why so many men dealing with this eating disorder have been ignored out of hand, but the reality is stark:
- Men are close to 80% less likely to visit a medical professional and admit to dealing with an eating disorder
- Men are close to 70% less likely to move forward with residential treatment centers designed at helping people recover from these conditions and
- Men are much more reticent to seek out psychological help for the underlying mental illnesses that cause eating disorders like male anorexia than women
On top of that, there are a lot of professional treatment facilities out there that simply do not cater to male anorexia cases out of hand.
Many of the best treatment facilities in the country simply do not admit men, and others aren’t quite as blatant about not helping men get the treatment that they need though they certainly don’t encourage or advertise men to sign up and move forward with the help that they provide.
According to the Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness, about three-quarters of those dealing with male anorexia simply do not get help because they do not believe that there is any available.
This is why it is of the utmost importance that you seek out professional help ASAP, asking your doctor to get you started with a proper diagnosis and a treatment protocol that allows you to destroy male anorexia before it controls your life.