Treating men with eating disorders: do we need gender-specific care?

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firemonkee57

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#1
Posted Una Foye December 11 2018


Approximately 1.25 million people in the UK have a diagnosed eating disorder (such as Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa) with official statistics showing that men and boys make up 10% of these patients (Beat; Mental Elf). Until recently, the literature has been sparse when it has come to accounting for the male experience, with it being accepted that males are considerably less likely than their female counterparts to have an eating disorder.

Treating men with eating disorders: do we need gender-specific care?



So it seems the number of men and boys with EDs has been steadily increasing. I wonder what any of the males here with ED think about how to care for males with EDs.
 
R_Sxo

R_Sxo

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#2
Hi there!

I think the first step is talking about it. All media attention about eating disorders is focused on girls (as they are make up most of those diagnosed), inferring that 'it's a girly thing' to have, which makes some male sufferers ashamed of it. Opening that discussion and recognising that males have eating disorders is important in breaking that assumption, and reducing the associated shame that males feel!x

Much love <3
 
Bernardos

Bernardos

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#3
I have an eating disorder and i'm male...i admit that i also thought it was mostly a female issue,now i know better.
 
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Mary26

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#4
You know it's interesting--I had an eating disorder before social media and before general awareness. I had a treatment team but they never really focused on eating disorder mindset or behaviors and I was not permitted to even talk to anyone who had an eating disorder. It may sound bizarre but I think they were on to something. They focused strictly on the issues that got me there in the first place and since I couldn't compare notes with anyone else, I had no idea how I was "supposed to" feel or behave. So I'm just wondering if it would be helpful to know about shared experiences with other men or if it would just make the disorder feel more acceptable and even comfortable. Maybe that's not a good thing in recovery. Maybe you are an individual whose issues should not be compared to anyone else's. Does that make sense? (Please feel free to disagree. I'm just wondering..)
 
R_Sxo

R_Sxo

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#5
You know it's interesting--I had an eating disorder before social media and before general awareness. I had a treatment team but they never really focused on eating disorder mindset or behaviors and I was not permitted to even talk to anyone who had an eating disorder. It may sound bizarre but I think they were on to something. They focused strictly on the issues that got me there in the first place and since I couldn't compare notes with anyone else, I had no idea how I was "supposed to" feel or behave. So I'm just wondering if it would be helpful to know about shared experiences with other men or if it would just make the disorder feel more acceptable and even comfortable. Maybe that's not a good thing in recovery. Maybe you are an individual whose issues should not be compared to anyone else's. Does that make sense? (Please feel free to disagree. I'm just wondering..)
That's a really interesting point! It's a big debate in psychology, as (like you've said) some think sharing eating disorder experiences raises awareness and helps to reduce stigma, while others think doing so makes it 'normal' and draws behavioural conformity.

From what I've seen, both definitely happen. Without raising awareness for eating disorders, things like support groups and charities might not be as prominent, and issues of self-doubt and mental isolation may not be addressed. However, recovery with others can work adversely as well, as one person's relapse can easily trigger another's.

Which one is more beneficial compared to it's downfalls? Or is there a way to combine the methods? Perhaps solitary recovery works well for some and not for others, or perhaps alternating periods of solitary and communal recovery could work? There are so many questions left unanswered.