Eating Disorder & Men
Despite the popular belief, fuelled by such tragic stories as that of Linda Carpenter, eating disorders do not exclusively affect women.
There are, in fact, millions of men suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. But, partly due to this dangerous misconception that eating disorders are 'a female problem', combined with the fact that, from childhood, men are taught to 'tough things out' and 'handle it', a vast number of men are reluctant to seek help and even deny they have a problem at all. To express their feelings is considered a sign of weakness in men and this may be the very reason that some turn to eating disorder behaviors as a coping strategy to handle uncomfortable feelings.
Physicians and healthcare providers also tend to overlook eating disorders as a possible diagnosis in men. Men have no menstrual cycle, which often alerts the medical profession to the possibility of an eating disorder in a woman. Decreased testosterone levels and low sexual libido, which go hand in hand with eating disorders in men, typically go unreported or unnoticed. Bulimia and compulsive overeating is often overlooked in men, as 'a healthy appetite' and weight gain is less likely to be of concern in men. In fact, diagnosis of eating disorders in men takes approximately twice as long as in women. Thus the associated health problems are left to worsen to sometimes dangerous levels.
Many of the underlying issues contributing to an eating disorder, such as low self esteem, depression, feeling out of control, are the same for men as they are for women. However, some of these issues present differently in men. For instance, men are more concerned with body size and shape, whereas women are more concerned with weight.
Men with eating disorders often report difficulty in 'fitting in' with the modern cultural view which values athleticism and masculinity. Men with eating disorders tend not to conform to the 'macho' image modern opinion requires. They tend to be more passive, sensitive and non-athletic. Men with eating disorders tend to have been teased and taunted regarding their bodies in childhood and adolescence. This teasing and rejection becomes internalized and leads to the individual becoming disconnected and ashamed of their own body. The need to either gain or lose weight for such sports as wrestling, boxing, horse racing and body building also fosters eating disorders among the more athletic. The dangerous use of steroids can cause serious side effects, including depression and sexual dysfunction, along with other physical disorders.
Eating disorders in younger men and adolescents can also be the result of an unconscious effort to deal with gender identity and sexual orientation conflicts. Individuals will practice eating disorder behaviors in an attempt to gain control of their bodies. Anorexic practices of starvation, for instance can produce a reduction in testosterone levels and a reduction in the male sexual drive.
The role of the family is also significant in contributing to the development of an eating disorder. Mothers and daughters typically relate to each other on a more emotional level than fathers and sons. Mothers find it relatively easy to talk to daughters about what is happening in their life, whereas fathers are more likely to discuss sport or to toss a football or baseball around. If a son is not particularly proficient at sports, he may feel that he has not only let his father down but also has no way of communicating. It is not surprising, therefore that men suffering from an eating disorder normally identify more closely with their mothers than their fathers.
The pressures are ever increasing on men in modern society to maintain the 'ideal' body image. Magazine racks are overflowing with male 'body beautiful' magazines with pictures depicting the male body form as having little body fat, a 'six pack' and sharply defined Pecs. Not satisfied with strenuous workouts and strict diets, some men even resort to cosmetic surgery to conform to what is publicly accepted as the ideal appearance.
At Sovereign Health of California, we understand the pressures and issues that men face in society today. We have treatments and therapies to help any individual return to a normal life.
Before we admit a patient, at Sovereign Health of California, we request extensive information not only from the sufferer, but from family and friends, in order to obtain a complete picture of the issues involved. Before treatment can be effective, it is important to uncover any underlying dual diagnosis issues or co-occurring disorders. Our treatment team has unrivalled experience in treating these issues. Our success rate speaks for itself.
Our patients stay in our comfortable, welcoming, gender specific residences, situated in the picturesque, coastal community of San Clemente, California. Here, patients are also encouraged to partake of therapies such as meditation, art therapy, equine therapy, etc., in addition to traditional treatments and therapies.
Sovereign Health of California offers treatment to both men and women. To learn more about our treatments and therapies, why not visit the 'What We Offer' page of our website. Alternatively, call us now! We have advisors available 24/7 to answer any question you may have with regard to Sovereign Health of California and all its treatment programs. We Can Help!