Increase in eating disorders among men

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

New research from the Department of Health has found that over the past three years there has been a 90% increase in the number of men reported with eating disorders.

Over the same time, there was a 25% increase amongst women. There are now thought to be at least 1.1 million people in the UK who are affected by an eating disorder.

People in the age group of 14-25 are most likely to develop this type of illness.

It is claimed that many cases of male eating disorders are not being diagnosed or reported.

This has been partially blamed on doctors for failing to recognise symptoms that are traditionally associated with women but historically unusual with men.

Secondly, men find it harder to admit they are suffering from a disorder due to the embarrassment of having an illness normally associated with women.

Life Works, an addiction treatment centre, has seen a relatively unnoticed growth in the disorder of bulimia amongst men. They are calling for action to increase the public’s knowledge of the symptoms of bulimia.

Bulimia is a psychological disorder which results in the reoccurrence of binge eating followed by deliberate purging.

Key symptoms include visits to the bathroom after meals along with the disappearance of large quantities of food without any sign of weight gain.

The April 2007 issue of the International Journal of Eating Disorders, suggested that gay and bisexual men and women may generally be at far higher risk for conditions like bulimia.

Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health brought to light a population-based study for the first time, which provided evidence of formal diagnoses based on established psychiatric criteria rather than just surveying those who have had some symptoms.

The study results showed that more than 15% of gay or bisexual men had at some time suffered anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder, or at least certain symptoms of those disorders, compared with less than five percent of heterosexual men.

Life Works offers a new holistic treatment regime which looks at individual’s lives, past and present, looking at where they are now and past experiences that could have led to problems.