Updated: May 29, 2019
For the past 2 years I saw a significant increase in the number of adults and young males with eating disorders. I have been working with eating disorders for 12 years, but in the last 2 years I have had as many male patients with eating disorders than I did in the first 10 years. So, are more males suffering from eating disorders or has awareness improved?
In the United States around 20 million women and 10 million men struggle with a clinical diagnosis of eating disorder, including anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder, or EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified). The most prevalent eating disorder in women and in men is Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Of the total population that struggles with eating disorders males represent 25% of the individuals with AN and BN and 36% of the individuals with BED. Eating disorders was historically considered a female issue. However, the new diagnosis guidelines changed leading to an awareness increase. This means that the stigma is shifting and the diagnosing is improving.
There are physical and mental warning signs that can indicate the onset or the presence of an eating disorder in males: • Obsession with body building or muscle toning • Exercise even when injured • Lowered testosterone levels • Anxiety/stress over missing workouts • Increase food thoughts • Decreased interest in sex • Possible conflict over sexual orientation • Using anabolic steroids
Correcting false impressions that characterize ED as a female disorder is necessary to change stigmas about gender and ED. By de-stigmatizing ED everyone will get better access to a proper diagnosis and professional treatment.
At BLOOM we offer a comprehensive intensive outpatient treatment for males and females, teens and adults struggling with eating disorders.