Male Eating Disorders On The Rise
Little research has been done specifically on male eating disorders, however it does seem apparent that many of the known causes of or contributors to eating disorders are the same across all genders, ages and backgrounds, such as:
- The impact of social media with glossy airbrushed pictures showing you what the “ideal” and most “liked” body image should be. There are free airbrush apps that young people in particular are using to fabricate their online profiles.
- It is not just female models we are seeing on the catwalk with their waif thin bodies. Recent catwalk events in Paris posted on social media raised again the growing issue of “Manorexia”.
- The perfect body and weight for performance amongst sportsmen. Runners and jockeys have a higher risk of developing anorexia and bulimia, whilst weightlifters for example focus on getting bigger and building muscle (Bixorexia).
- Bullying about weight and body image, leading to low self-esteem.
- Issues around sexual identity.
Whatever their cause, eating disorders are a form of mental illness, and often are a way of coping with feelings or situations that are making you unhappy, angry, worried, or depressed.
What is being done to address this?
Programs of education and training for healthcare professionals and those working with children and young people are providing them with a greater understanding of the issues involved. A greater awareness can only serve to reduce the stigma surrounding eating disorders and help the individual to get the support they need.
Help is available
Sometimes people worry about talking to someone because they feel their eating disorder isn’t serious enough, they don’t want to worry their family and friends, or they may feel too guilty, embarrassed or ashamed.
You may think that you can hide an eating disorder, however your family and friends may have already noticed changes in your behavior, mood and appearance.
Whether your eating disorder has developed recently or you have struggled with it for many years there is help here at The Practice Shrewsbury to support you. If you feel you cannot talk to a family member or friend then go and see your GP who will give you support and refer you for help.
You don’t have to deal with it alone.
Counselling is a form of talking therapy. Counsellors are trained professionals who will give you the space to talk about what you are going through in a private, confidential, non-judgmental setting.
It is important for you to find a counsellor who you can talk to about your problems to help you look at the underlying causes of your eating disorder. By finding out about how your eating disorder has affected you your counsellor will be able to give you the support you need, strategies that can help you cope better and hopefully help you to find solutions to deal with what you are going through.
I am reluctant to recommend websites, and you can quite easily Google male eating disorders and be bombarded by lots of information, however Men Get Eating Disorders Too (“MGEDT”) is a charity that was set up by Sam Thomas. They offer information and online support. See www.fixers.org.uk.
By Debbie Whalley, Counsellor & Psychotherapist