You’d be forgiven for thinking that suffering from an eating disorder (ED), is an inherently female condition. The media has certainly played a part in dictating what women should aspire to look like and what is deemed to be physically perfect has become more and more difficult to attain. While appearance has been pinpointed as a major factor in the onset of eating disorders, comfort eating to battle low self esteem or food providing a means of taking back control, for example, are also root causes.
Less frequently reported is the prevalence of eating disorders in males. In the 1960s and 70s, EDs were thought to be nonexistent in males. This number has steadily increased in the decades since and it is thought that at least 25% of all ED sufferers are male. This increase suggests insufficient research into the topic in the past, something that is still lacking today, despite strides to rectify this, but the increased media exposure to the perfect human in recent times has undoubtedly played its part.
Whether it is the ultra muscular action star or a more androgynous look, we see examples of the perfect human on every magazine page, blog site or tv show, which is only compounded by the vicious criticism of those celebrities that don’t conform to these ideals.
What is clear is that eating disorders in males does exist and is on the rise. EDs are often life threatening and always life altering, but people who are affected by them, whether it is anorexia, bulimia or binge eating, can be helped and can overcome their condition. Through the right support the underlying cause can also be pinpointed and treated.
Gaps within mental health knowledge generally are prevalent within our society and eating disorders are just one of the many forms of mental health issues that healthcare staff support people to cope with every day. We work with a variety of Mental Health services across Wales and England and we are looking for people who are passionate about helping support people within this sector. If that could be you, please register your details HERE, or call us on 02921 660880.