Males With Eating Disorders
Conservative estimates are that 1 in 10 cases of these disorders involve males. Some research indicates the rates could be much higher as we know that males are less likely to be diagnosed or seek treatment. As a result, healthcare professionals may fall into the trap of missing the signs of eating disorders in males.
This article tells of one family's struggle to find a doctor that would recognize the signs of an eating disorder in their son, who lost a great deal of weight, had many of common symptoms of anorexia, but medical investigation was geared towards other causes or illnesses.
Eating disorders may manifest slightly differently in males which may also serve to disguise the illness. For example, males may alter their eating patterns to improve athletic performance or stay within a weight category in wrestling, track, swimming, and other sports. Due to a lack of eating disorder awareness and training in many coaches and trainers, disordered eating patterns may even become normalized within certain sports.
It's rare for men to be open about eating disorders, but here is an article about a long-distance runner's struggle with an eating disorder.
Males may try to achieve a better body image through bodybuilding, weightlifting, and muscle toning in response to idealized images of males, which emphasize visible musculature like the "six pack". As a result, some males with eating disorders also develop a concurrent condition called muscle dysmorphia, where they see themselves as thinner than they actually are, become obsessed with increasing muscle mass and may turn to steroid use.
In general, males are more likely to suffer from Binge Eating Disorder (40% of sufferers are male) or Bulimia Nervosa (20% male) than Anorexia Nervosa (5% male).
The most important thing, overall, to remember is that most of the underlying psychological factors that lead to an Eating Disorder are the same for both men and women. Low self-esteem, a need to be accepted, depression, anxiety or other existing psychological illness, and an inability to cope with emotions and personal issues. All of the physical dangers and complications associated with being the sufferer of an Eating Disorder are the same whether the sufferer is male or female. A great number of the causes are the same or very similar (family problems, relationship issues, alcoholic/addictive parent, abuse, societal pressure).
(From Something Fishy http://www.something-fishy.org/cultural/issuesformen.php)
Following are several links to further information specific to males with eating disorders:
The National Association for Males with Eating Disorders
NAMED is a nationwide professional association committed to leadership in the field of male eating disorders. They aim to provide support for males affected by eating disorders, provide access to collective expertise, and promote the development of effective clinical intervention and research in this population
Men Get Eating Disorders Too
‘Men Get Eating Disorders Too’ is a charitable organisation (registered charity 1139351) that seeks to raise awareness of eating disorders in men so men are able to recognize their symptoms and access support when they need it.
National Eating Disorder Association
The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt
This website is posted a treatment facility - Inclusion of this site is not meant as an endorsement for this facility however the page specific to eating disorders in males is well written and includes several links to further resource material
Young British teen talks about recovering from anorexia, which he developed at the age of 12.