Male Anorexia – What You Should Know

Though eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are known generally as female afflictions, male anorexia is more common than we may think. Consider the following misconceptions about male anorexia:

  • There are no large studies done on the subject of male anorexia because it is a phenomenon often dismissed due to “statistical infrequency”. However estimates suggest that as many as one fourth of anorexia sufferers may be males.
  • Anorexia is thought of as a girl’s disease, so often warning signs of male anorexia may be discounted, ignored or even at times remain unacknowledged because of the stigma of a man having a ‘girl’s disease’. Medical practitioners may also be more skeptical, even dismissive of male anorexia. Because of this and other reasons, male anorexia takes twice as long to diagnose as does female anorexia.
  • Anorexic men may sometimes be misdiagnosed as not having anorexia because physically they may not display many of the signs of anorexia such as thinness or emaciation. This is because the physical structure of men may cause them to retain some muscle even with an eating disorder and this may be misguiding in terms of diagnosing their eating disorder.
  • Since men are not supposed to have their emotions impact their eating, they may be reluctant to acknowledge their problems and even more reluctant to get help. It would be an acknowledgement of weakness for many.
  • Male anorexia is often misdiagnosed because men may not ‘starve’ themselves as women anorexics do and they may not lose weight in drastic amounts the way women may. This may be due to the fact that male anorexics may over exercise with the result that they may appear healthy and muscular even when they have an actual disorder.

Symptoms of Male Anorexia to watch out for:

  • A sudden or noticeable weight loss or other physical change that may be noticed.
  • Boys or men may display signs of compulsive exercising and also over exercising.
  • Preoccupation with weight, body shape etc, to the extent of being obsessed with it.
  • Self induced starvation and eating alone which however may not have as dramatic physical results as female anorexia.
  • Tiredness or fatigue; mood swings or depression.
  • Self isolation
  • There may also be an implied or expressed fear of being fat or putting on weight.
  • Vomiting, use of emetics and/or laxatives and diet pills
  • Thinning hair
  • Perfectionist behavior

If you are worried about a male who you think may have Male Anorexia, this quiz may help to confirm or allay your suspicions.