For decades, eating disorders have been considered “women’s problems.” All forms of eating disorder treatment and research were geared toward women because they were the only perceived victims of these conditions. In all reality, men have suffered from body image disorders and eating disorders just as long as women have. Their suffering was hidden in the shadows.
How popular are eating disorders among men, and what can men do to get eating disorder treatment? Read on to learn more.
How Many Men Have Eating Disorders In Michigan?
As we mentioned above, eating disorder research has historically focused on women. The few statistics that are available do not accurately portray the prevalence of eating disorders among men. For instance, the National Eating Disorders Association cites a study where 0.3% of men had anorexia and 0.5% had bulimia, but men only accounted for 25% of the participants in that study. Until more male-centered research emerges, it may be impossible to say how many men have eating disorders in America.
Statistics Aside, Men DO Experience Eating Disorders
It doesn’t matter what the research says. Men do experience eating disorders. In fact, we have noticed an upward-climbing trend in the number of teenage men who come to our Michigan counseling centers for eating disorder treatment. Society’s stereotypical eating disorder patient is a middle- to high-school aged girl, but our clients are much more diverse than that.
Men Develop Eating Disorders For Different Reasons
Men are upheld to different body standards than women, so they may develop a condition for different reasons. Women want to be thin – men want to be muscular. This is not always the case, but it is a good generalization. A male teenager may go through chronic dieting or exercise addiction in an effort to get “fit.” With this in mind, a man can feel overweight just like a woman can, and he may take unhealthy steps to achieve his ideal body shape.
How Eating Disorder Treatment Helps Men
Eating disorder treatment has several purposes: identify the cause of an eating disorder and develop a plan to achieve a healthier lifestyle. This may be done through counseling, work with a nutritionist, or a combination of the two. Eating disorder treatment programs are not limited to any gender, age or upbringing. If you are a man in need of eating disorder treatment, one of the specialists at Heron Ridge Associates would be happy to assist you. Contact one of our counseling centers in southeast Michigan to get started.