Men, Depression and Eating Disorders

Men, Depression and Eating DisordersWhile women are much more likely than men to develop both depression and eating disorders, males of all ages still battle these dangerous issues. According to Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, about 10% of males struggle with an eating disorder, while the Journal of the American Medical Association cites that 12% of males are diagnosed with depression each year. These numbers may seem small in comparison to women’s statistics, but they are noteworthy, and reveal how depression is linked to eating disorders in men across the country.

Symptoms of Depression in Men

One may think that depression affects all genders the same, but men experience different side effects of this mood disorder than do women. These effects that are unique to men may encourage other problems, like eating disorders. Men who struggle with depression may display any of the following symptoms:

  • Anger – Many men vent their frustration with depression by releasing anger. This can include road rage, unnecessary yelling and physical violence.
  • Substance abuse – The more depressed a man feels, the more likely he is to abuse alcohol to relieve his feelings
  • Physical pain – Men tend to bottle up stress, which can cause backaches that interrupt sleep patterns or activity, which causes even more stress
  • Sexual dysfunction – Feeling depressed can make a man have a low sense of self-worth, making it difficult for him to perform sexually
  • Anxiety – Constant nail biting or pacing can indicate anxiety, especially when a man feels out of control

If you know a man who exudes these problems, he may have depression.

How Depression Can Lead Men to an Eating Disorder

Depression doesn’t just occur out of the blue; it can develop so slowly that eventually men feel like they are lugging a ton of rocks around. Sometimes, the symptoms can damage a man’s sense of self-worth, making him more likely to reclaim control of his body through an eating disorder. Depression can instigate an eating disorder in the following ways:

  • Low self-esteem is likely to be a prominent cause of a man’s eating disorder, because depressed men feel down on themselves. Furthermore, sexual dysfunction and physical pain can take their toll on men, making him desire ways to appear stronger than they feel. By shedding some pounds and packing on some muscle, depressed men may think they have found the cure to their problems.
  • The effects of anxiety can greatly affect the development of an eating disorder, as the more stressed a man is, the less likely he is to eat. As opposed to women, who tend to eat when stressed, men generally pass up the opportunity to eat when they are anxious. This can lead to weight loss that can make a man feel more desirable, which fuels a poor diet.

A man’s depression can also come from childhood trauma, peer pressure, loneliness and even genetics. These factors may compel him to control his life through abusing food and causing an eating disorder. The best way to address this issue is to participate in a treatment program designed to address men’s issues.

Help for Men with Depression and Eating Disorders

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