A common misconception amongst the masses is that eating disorders only occur in teenage girls who are constantly hyper focused on their weight. But this is far from the truth. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), approximately 1 in 3 people experiencing an eating disorder is a man.
Bombardment of images of unrealistic male physique across social media platforms leads to body dissatisfaction amongst men. This constant pressure to look good and have an ideal ‘muscular and lean’ body type pushes many to adopt unhealthy lifestyle choices affecting their mental and physical health which, in some cases, may transition into a severe or life-threatening condition.
Therefore, being aware of the common signs and symptoms of common eating disorders in men is the first step to ensure early detection which may likely prevent severe health compilations.
The common types and their respective general symptoms are mentioned below:
Binge eating disorder
This consists of consuming unusually large amounts of food over a short span of time. Oftentimes, one is unable to stop eating. When this excessive consumption becomes frequent with an irresistible urge to continue, it crosses the line from occasional overeating to binge eating disorder(BED).
Some common symptoms for BED stated by the National Eating Disorder Association are:
- Feeling anxious or angry before binging on food.
- Having a strong inclination towards eating alone or secretly due to embarrassment.
- Eat when you are not hungry or already full.
- Eat a larger portion than what other people would have in a certain time span.
- Eating until uncomfortably full and feeling guilty afterwards.
It is a possibly life-threatening eating disorder and psychological illness where one eats large amounts of food in a short period of time. This is followed by purging.
Purging can consist of self-induced vomiting, using laxatives (medications used to loosen up stool to ease its passage), diuretics (substances to increase urine production) and extended periods of compensatory rigorous exercise.
Some common symptoms for this disorder for this include:
- Being constantly preoccupied with your body weight and physique.
- Constantly concerned regarding weight gain.
- Frequent usage of bathrooms after meals.
- Rigorously exercising.
- Having stained teeth (from stomach acid).
Anorexia means “loss of appetite.” However, people who suffer from it are often hungry but actively choose to avoid having meals. This disorder causes a constant severe fear of gaining weight in an individual, regardless of how much weight they have lost.
A person suffering from it may take extreme measures such as self-starvation or adopt an unhealthy lifestyle leading to excessive weight loss. They often equate thinness to self-worth to cope with possible emotional or psychological problems.
Physical signs of anorexia nervosa may include:
- Rapid weight loss over a short period of time such as several weeks or months.
- Frequent illness or developing conditions such as low blood pressure and drop in pulse and breathing rates.
- Dizziness or fainting.
- Feeling anxious, agitated or depressed.
- Exercising compulsively.
The prevalence of such cases in men is constantly on the rise, making it vital for us to acknowledge these serious mental health illnesses and break the stigma attached to them. This, in turn, will provide a safe space for males to seek treatment without any hesitation or shame.
If you or any of your loved ones may be suffering from any of the disorders mentioned above, take heart. There are many treatments available that would suit them. The first step to take is to consult your doctor and openly discuss your concerns with them.
At Annie’s Place, we understand that navigating through this situation alone can be a difficult task. Therefore, we help in booking appointments for our clients, including checkups for any mental health illnesses. We are happy to offer this service and even accompany clients to appointments upon their request. We want to be there for them for anything they need. Please do not hesitate to contact us for external aid.