Male anorexia is far less common than female anorexia but it does occur sometimes. Men with anorexia account for about 10 percent of all anorexics. Men are more likely to develop binge eating disorder than anorexia, but some men are anorexic.
Male anorexia is similar to female anorexia in many ways. However, there are some key differences. Men with anorexia tend to focus on becoming strong rather than thin and equate fat with weakness. Societal pressure to be thin is not quite as strong for men in general but there is a lot of pressure to be slim and fit for men that engage in many sports activities and in fact men that play sports are more likely to develop anorexia than those that do not participate in sports.
Men that develop anorexia tend to do so later in life than women, who often develop eating disorders during their teen years. Many anorexic men have a history of obesity before developing an eating disorder.
Symptoms of Male Anorexia
Symptoms of anorexia in men are similar to symptoms of anorexia in women and may include:
It should be noted, though, that severe weight loss may be less noticeable in men with anorexia than in women because men may still have some muscle mass even though they are thin. Also, men have less body fat to begin with so the loss of body fat may not be as noticeable as it is in women.
Complications of Male Anorexia
Complications of anorexia in men are also similar to complications of anorexia in women and may include:
Treating Male Anorexia
Treatment for men with anorexia is a bit different than treatment for women with anorexia. Unfortunately, since women are so much more likely to suffer from anorexia, many treatment centers are designed to meet the needs of female patients. In fact, some only treat women. Even in treatment centers that treat both men and women, though, the majority of the patients are likely to be female. Men may feel out of place or uncomfortable in a predominantly female setting.
Treatment centers that primarily treat women may not offer suitable programming for men with anorexia. For instance, they may focus heavily on the impact of cultural stereotypes and images of women in the media as contributing factors to the development of anorexia. While men are also influenced by what they see in the popular media, the societal pressures differ from those felt by many women.
Both men and women with anorexia usually suffer from poor self-esteem but the root cause of their self-esteem issues may differ and therefore the best ways to address that in treatment also differ.
Men that suffer from anorexia should look for treatment centers that offer programming specifically geared toward men with eating disorders. The center does not need to treat men exclusively but it needs to offer a treatment plan designed for men, not women.
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