Men and Eating Disorders
There definitely is a common misconception that disordered eating is a women's only issue. However, men struggle with disordered eating are sometimes overlooked in literature and media about eating disorders, which perpetuates this misconception. Let's take a look at some facts about eating disorders and men.
1. Men are less likely to seek treatment
In the US, an estimated 10 million men will struggle with disordered eating at some point in their lives. Despite that large estimate, men are much less likely to seek treatment or counseling for their eating disorders. However, research shows that, once men do seek treatment, their treatment outcomes and recovery are similar to women who seek treatment. Basically, men respond well to counseling once they make the decision to go.
Among individuals who struggle with anorexia nervosa, 25% are men, 36% of people struggling with binge eating disorder are men, and 25% of people diagnosed with bulimia nervosa are men. Additionally, 15% of men who identify as LGBTQ* struggle with disordered eating, while 5% of straight men reported struggling with the same issues. Keep in mind that these numbers are likely skewed because men are less likely to seek treatment.
3. Individual counseling for men
When I work with men, I make sure to take gender concerns into consideration. For example, discussing body image issues with men can be very different versus discussing them with women. Additionally, I make sure to normalize the fact that men also struggle with disordered eating and validate their struggles. Eating disorders are not a women's only concern- they impact every gender.