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Males and Eating Disorders

Can males have eating disorders? Absolutely! Misconceptions about eating disorders being a "female" disease (or a "gay" disease when seen in males) often perpetuate strong feelings of shame in males about having an eating disorder. This shame may result in denial of the eating disorder and/or reluctance to seek treatment. Eating disorders are clinically similar in both genders, but differ in terms of gender-specific aspects. In comparison to females, males tend to be more concerned with body size, specifically with building muscle, than with weight loss.


Male eating disorders are on the rise, and the numbers are increasing quite rapidly. A 2007 study by Harvard Medical School found that 25% (not the traditionally stated 10-15%) of study participants with anorexia and bulimia were male. An estimated 40% of those with binge eating disorder are male.


Men need to know that it is okay to seek professional help for their problems. There is hope, help is available, and recovery is possible. Males with eating disorders need to be their own best advocate for seeking treatment. Remember, many doctors are under the mistaken assumption that males are not affected by eating disorders. Therefore, doctors may not diagnose or may misdiagnose an eating disorder in a male.


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