We label them “men’s eating disorders” and we shouldn’t. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other eating disorders are not gendered. We don’t say “men’s depression” or “men’s alcoholism” in order to differentiate or isolate one sex from the other. Every single person on the planet experiences things a little bit differently from each other. Men and women do have different experiences with many generalizations within each sex. However, there is no diagnostic difference listed in an official text like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. There are just eating disorders, to be experienced by anyone. Yet, we specify “men’s’” eating disorders. Eating disorder behaviors have developed which have been more male-oriented, like “bigorexia” which is an unhealthy form of body dysmorphic disorder focused on gaining muscle mass. However, many women have struggled from it as well. These disordered eating behaviors and body dysmorphic tendencies have been grouped into “men’s eating disorders” leaving out the very real experience of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder by men. Men are the largest population experiencing binge eating disorder. Men experience the compulsive restriction and starvation for anorexia. Images of women who are skin and bone do exist with male focuses. Men also experience bulimia, a compulsive need to throw up their food and try to control their food intake. Men experience these conditions because men have them. Men have eating disorders. Men also have a high amount of pressure on them not to have mental health disorders. Men “shouldn’t” have to have eating disorders because men should be able to eat “like men” and be able to handle whatever it is beneath the surface driving them to this problematic behavior. Men have a right to be treated with respect for their humanity while they heal in a therapeutic environment. Men need to know they can have their emotional issues, their eating disorder issues, and still be “men”, still be okay. Residential treatment programs are a healthy place to recover. Supported by other male staff in an environment of compassion, men have an opportunity to be themselves, form a brotherhood, and learn how to find success in their life again.
Oceanfront Recovery is a treatment center in Orange County, California, offering a premiere experience of treatment. We believe that your story defines you- when you change your story, you can change your life. For information on our detox, inpatient, and intensive outpatient programs for men’s dual diagnosis, call us today: 877.279.1777