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Challenges With Anorexia in Men

Challenges With Male Anorexia

Diagnosing anorexia in males is complicated by a reluctance some men have to seek medical help for disorders that are still primarily considered "women's conditions." Many men simply are ashamed to have an illness of this type. Thus, they suffer in silence.
Another problem is that a great number of doctors and healthcare professionals are not trained to identify or treat male anorexia. Families, too, often fail to see the symptoms of anorexia. The illnesses can then progress to a more advanced stage, which can be harder to treat.
During recovery, men with anorexia sometimes are unwilling to participate in support-group sessions because the groups are mostly female.
Unlike many women, who acquire anorexia because they "feel" fat, men often are medically obese at some point in the illness and feel pressure to be thin. Sometimes, athletic activities induce this struggle to be lean, prompting not only the anorexia, but also compulsive exercising. Men also may adopt disease behaviors when teased or criticized about being fat at critical development stages, such as puberty.

Treating Anorexia in Men

Treatment for anorexia in men can be quite effective, especially if begun early. Treatment can involve either inpatient or outpatient hospital treatment, depending on the severity of the illness. Conditions such as anemia or depression are also treated, and patients gradually relearn proper eating habits. Treatment also usually includes psychotherapy, which helps patients understand why they have the illness. Medications may also be used.
Men with anorexia also undergo nutritional rehabilitation, which allows them to regain a desirable body weight. Treatment is followed by weeks, months, even years of follow-up visits to ensure complete recovery.
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