People tend to associate eating disorders primarily with women, but men can have anorexia, too. Male anorexia often shares the same characteristics as its female counterpart, including low self-esteem and preoccupation with weight. More education is needed to make both the public and the medical profession aware of this growing problem so that men don't feel ashamed to seek help.
What Is Male Anorexia?Though many people associate anorexia with women, anorexia also occurs in males. An estimated 5 to 15 percent of people with anorexia are male. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that male anorexia rates are increasing.
Characteristics Associated With Anorexia in MenMale anorexia shares the same characteristics as its female counterpart, including low self-esteem, the need to be accepted, an inability to cope with emotional pressures, and family and relationship issues.
Anorexia in males is most commonly seen in specific subgroups. For instance, males who wrestle show a disproportionate increase in anorexia -- rates 7 to 10 times higher than normal. Additionally, homosexual males have an increased rate of anorexia.
PrognosisMale anorexia most often surfaces during the teen years, but in rare cases, men as old as 60 and boys as young as 8 can be afflicted. In both sexes, anorexia can lead to lifelong medical and psychological complications. An estimated 6 percent of male eating disorder cases result in death.
Most people find it difficult to halt the behavior without professional assistance. Although some men ultimately seek help, many continue untreated with the condition, often for years, and sometimes for a decade or more.