It’s not just women who are concerned with their bodies and eating disorders, it’s men too. It might seem obvious, but a study found that despite eating disorders being common among men, these receive little attention or are treated less seriously than women.
Between seven and ten million women across the United States are believed to suffer from eating disorders. These include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating – all of which are serious emotional and physical problems that can pose long-lasting problems and even have life-threatening consequences. But both men and women are affected by eating disorders, and according to research eating disorders in males are clinically similar to eating disorders in females.
It’s true, however, that eating disorders are less common in men since only 10% of those suffering from them are men or roughly one million men in the United States. Cultural and media pressures on men for the “ideal body” (again, women aren’t alone) has exacerbated this trend. According to a new report released by a charity called Beat, 320,000 men were admitted to hospital suffering with bulimia, anorexia and muscle dysmorphia last year– up 63 per cent in the past five years.
Daniel Perry, 24, an office manager, has been suffering from eating disorder since the age of 15. But according to Perry, he waited for two years to receive a life-saving cognitive behavioral therapy, while he was still living on 300 calories daily.
“I attempted suicide at one point – to not have the treatment puts lives at risk,” Perry said, who laments therapies focus too much on women “One of the first things they would always ask is, ‘Do you feel as if you were born a male?”
According to Beat, there’s still a stigma associated to eating disorders in general, and men finding difficult to find help, in particular.
“Specialist treatment is also mainly geared around females and getting help can seem like an overwhelmingly impossible task,” the charity added.
“Nowadays younger men are becoming more vulnerable to disliking their bodies and seeking to reshape them, and many lack the skills to discuss their feelings.”
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates among any mental illness. Up to 20% of all those affected die prematurely.