Approximately the 8 million people in the Unites States have some sort of an eating disorder. An old fashioned idea is that only women suffer from eating disorders, but the statistics reveal that 10% of all US sufferers are actually men. This number is possibly even higher. Some researchers claim there is a significant difference between male and female patterns of eating disorders. While women usually only feel fat, men are typically actually overweight before the development of the disorder. Most scientists agree that a low self esteem causes the great portion of eating disorder cases.
What are the risk factors for males?
Certain lifestyle variables are associated with increased risk of eating disorders in men. Most of the men with this problem were fat or overweight as children, and they have been dieting at some points in their lives.
Men who participate in different sports that demand low-weight are also at a higher risk of developing eating disorder. Jockeys, wrestlers and runners, for example, are under the lot of pressure that may trigger their eating disorder. Certain professionals, such as models, actors and entertainers, are also put under the similar kind of pressure to fit into the ideal body image.
Statistically, homosexual men are more prone to eating disorders and the broad tendency in the male gay community places the importance of good physical look very high. And more generally, any culture fixated on the importance of physical appearance and weight loss, is considered to be a significant risk factor.
However, the core of the problem remains the same both for men and women: low self-esteem and a strong need to be accepted, combined with stress, depression, anxiety and emotional instability.
Main types of eating disorders in men
Anorexia nervosa is one of the most common male eating disorders. It is characterized by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight. The sufferer is also obsessed with calories and fat content and preoccupied with food. Despite of this preoccupation, patient most commonly refuses to eat and looses weight rapidly. It is a serious mental condition associated with the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorders.
Bulimia nervosa is the other common eating disorder in men. Like anorexia nervosa it affects both men and women of all ages, races, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. This disorder is characterized by binge eating followed with self-inducted vomiting or use of laxative, enemas, diuretics or over-exercising. The most common symptoms of bulimia nervosa include rapid and uncontrolled eating fallowed by a feeling of guilty consciousness and different kinds of purging. This condition leads to the series of health complications and it is also possibly fatal.