Eating disorders was thought to be widespread among women than men. Recent reports indicate that about 10% of victims who suffer from such diseases are men. The common factor that many of these victims face is low self esteem which makes them adapt abnormal eating habits in order to gain the required physical appearance. However, such irregular routines finally end up having adverse effects on the system resulting in severe eating disorders.
Due to the misconception of fewer men having such disorders, many of them are left undiagnosed until the disease reaches the critical stage. Homosexual men primarily suffer from Bulimia and Anorexia but the section of heterosexual men who are affected by such diseases are not uncommon.
Not many support groups or therapy centres exist only to treat men with such disorders. In addition, men feel embarrassed to approach groups or treatment centres specifically dealing with women.
Jockeys, models runners, racing and driving enthusiasts, dancers and wrestlers who sometimes concentrate too much on maintain low weight is highly prone to eating disorders. The highly competitive profession they are in overwhelms these men with the pressure to succeed. The importance they give to maintaining a social image is high and hence, they try their best curb their dietary cravings. Sometimes, this increases their urge to eat and they end up in such disorders.
Many men suffering from eating disorders also have other addictions like substance abuse and alcoholism. In addition, they face sexual anxiety. Experts say that these disorders are linked to ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) as well as self-injuries. Victims of such disorders are also prone to psychological illnesses like trauma, irritation, restlessness, depression, stress, obsession and other serious personality disorders.
It is to be noted that both men and women have similar symptoms and factors that lead them to eating disorders. Such patients are highly conscious of their self-esteem and prestige in the society. Emotions sometimes reach extremities which affects their food habits to defend their insecurities.
External factors like relationship issues, family related problems, separation, isolation and neglecting can force people to start overeating. They also find it hard to recover from these diseases as they are emotionally unstable. Their determination and perseverance in overcoming these abnormalities also remains a major question.
Diagnosis of eating disorders in men seems to be more difficult than in women due to the societal bias that men are generally not prone to such diseases. Mostly, these patients are misdiagnosed to suffer from depression though they generally exhibit the same symptoms of eating disorder. Experts also observe that men fail to disclose any symptoms of eating disorders as opposed to women who are open to letting out such issues to the people they trust. Their reluctance further complicates diagnosis.
Among the male patients who suffer from various eating disorders, it has been found that about 20% are binge eaters, 14% vomit after over eating and 3% of men diet at very regular intervals.
Hence, men who require help to overcome eating disorders can be rest assured that they are not alone and it is advisable to seek the help of the physician before it become too critical.