Bulimia Nervosa in Men

Bulimia Nervosa in MenWhen most people picture eating disorder victims, females come to mind. Very rarely do people think first of male eating disorder victims. While women have a much higher rate of eating disorders, it is an unfortunate misconception that men never suffer from them. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), as many as 10 million American males will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, at some point in life.

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by cycles of binging and compensatory behaviors. Many associate bulimia nervosa with physical purging of consumed food. However, there are many ways people with this disorder can compensate for binges. While many do purge, there are also those who compensate by abusing laxatives or diuretics. Others may choose to exercise excessively following a binge in order to work off the calories that were consumed. This is one of the more common forms of compensation utilized by men with eating disorders. Exercise may not draw as much attention as purging or abusing laxatives, especially for men.

Contributors to Eating Disorders in Men

One of the most considerable factors that contribute to eating disorders in men is the cultural pressure to maintain an unrealistic body shape. Body mass and muscle prominence are two culturally idealized features for men that may lead some to fall into disordered eating habits. These men become preoccupied with the thought of achieving this outward projection masculinity, ultimately falling into cycles of binging with compensatory behaviors.

Another contributor to bulimia nervosa in men is the lack of recognition about male eating disorders. Very few people recognize eating disorders as being a significant problem for men. This increases the stigma associated with male eating disorders, preventing men from seeking the treatment needed for bulimia nervosa. Unfortunately, due to this and other reasons, bulimia nervosa goes highly under-diagnosed for the male population.

Warning Signs of Bulimia Nervosa

Because eating disorders are often not diagnosed in men, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa. If you feel concern about a loved one’s eating habits, you may want to look for certain indicators of eating disorders. Indicators of bulimia nervosa include the following:

  • Preoccupation with weight and body shape
  • Inability to stop eating
  • Eating excessive amounts in private
  • Frequently disappearing to the bathroom after eating
  • Consuming laxatives or diuretics following a meal
  • Exercising excessively, particularly after meals

Recognition is essential to prevent the worsening of bulimia nervosa in both men and women. Unfortunately, many people fail to acknowledge these symptoms as a serious problem in men. Men are also less likely to open up about eating disorders or seek treatment, likely due to the stigma associated with male eating disorders.

Get Help for Men with Eating Disorders

Those suffering from eating disorders may be hesitant to seek treatment. However, by utilizing available resources, many people overcome eating disorders and regain their lives. If you or a loved one suffers from an eating disorder, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatments for eating disorders.