News on Wellness

Men suffer from eating disorders too

Anorexia nervosa

Despite popular misconceptions, people who suffer from eating disorders are not necessarily white, female, or thin, although anyone can develop an eating disorder.
Now, a small study in the journal BMJ Open has provided sufficient evidence that men whom suffer from eating disorders often don’t seek the help that they should be looking for, it’s almost as if they were asking for directions!

“Men with eating disorders are under diagnosed, under treated and under-researched,” stated Ulla Raisanen, team leader of the steady from the University of Oxford.
Anorexia nervosa
The researchers say that because there is poor recognition of symptoms of eating disorders in men, such estimates are likely to be higher.

The researchers interviewed 29 women and 10 men, aged 16 to 25, who had been diagnosed with eating disorders.

For all of these men took a long time – months and even years – to realize that these behaviors could be associated with eating disorders. All because men with eating disorders are underdiagnosed, undertreated and under-researched.

“Our findings suggest that men may experience particular problems in recognising that they may have an eating disorder as a result of the continuing cultural construction of eating disorders as uniquely or predominantly a female problem,” researchers added.

How to recognize eating disorders

Anorexia nervosa is an emotional weight-loss disorder characterized by physical, social and psychological symptoms. Chief among these are:
* an intense drive for thinness
* an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat
* a disturbance in body image (misperception of body size and shape)

Warning signs of anorexia. Most individuals with this disorder strongly deny it. Because early detection is important to successful recovery, it is important to recognize the common warning signs. These include:
* significant or extreme weight loss with no known medical illness
* reduction in food intake
* reliance on low-fat, nonfat and low-calorie foods
* ritualistic eating habits (such as cutting meat into very small pieces or excessive chewing)
* denial of hunger
* excessive exercise
* insistence that she or he is too fat, even when this is not true
* highly self-controlled behavior
* criticism and intolerance of others
* a tendency to hide feelings

Bulimia nervosa is an emotional weight-control disorder characterized by episodes of binge eating followed by some form of purging or restriction. Binges are secretive periods of rapid consumption of high-caloric foods. The purging that follows bingeing usually takes the form of self-induced vomiting, but it may also consist of excessive exercise, fasting, or abuse of laxatives (medications that encourage bowel movements), emetics (medications that cause vomiting) or diuretics (medications that promote urination).

The binge-purge cycle is normally accompanied by ongoing feelings of isolation, self-deprecating thoughts, depression, and low self-esteem. Bulimics typically recognize that their behavior is abnormal and out of control, and they develop a complex lifestyle to accommodate it.

Bulimia typically develops in early to mid-adolescence, typically following dieting behavior. People with bulimia usually are of average or above-average weight, and their self-evaluation becomes unduly focused on size and weight.

Statistics. Bulimia occurs in 0.5 percent to 2 percent of adolescents and young adults. Most of these people are women; bulimia is relatively uncommon in men.

Warning signs of bulimia. Because most bulimics are within a normal weight range, the illness may go undetected by others for years. These clues may indicate a person has bulimia:
* frequent trips to the bathroom after meals
* eating of large amounts of food on the spur of the moment
* purchases of large quantities of food, which suddenly disappears
* evidence of frequent use of laxatives or diuretics (such as discarded packaging)
* unexplained disappearance of food in a home or residence hall
* unusual swelling around the jaw
* mood swings

Binge eating disorder is the consumption of unusually large amounts of food in a brief time period. This is similar to the bingeing done by people with bulimia, but bulimics follow binge eating with some type of purging behavior (i.e. self-induced vomiting, laxative use, etc.). Those with binge eating disorder do not practice purging, but they have feelings of lost control and marked distress over their eating behavior. Binge eating disorder is typically diagnosed in normal or overweight individuals who meet the criteria for bulimia but who do not practice purging or other compensating behaviors.

Statistics. The prevalence of binge eating disorder in the general population is unknown, but studies suggest that approximately 25-50 percent of obese individuals eat in binges. Studies also suggest that those suffering from binge eating disorder have difficulties with impulse control in other areas of their lives.

Warning signs of binge eating disorder. A person may have binge eating disorder if she or he:
* frequently eats an abnormal amount of food in a limited period of time
* eats rapidly
* eats to the point of being uncomfortably full
* often eats alone
* shows irritation and disgust with herself or himself after overeating
* does not use methods to purge

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