Male Eating Disorders
Treatment for eating disorders in men can be effective. It 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 men gradually relearn proper eating habits. Treatment also usually includes psychotherapy, which helps men understand why they have the illness. In addition, medications may be used.
Males with eating disorders often undergo nutritional rehabilitation, which allows them to regain a desirable body weight. Treatment is followed by weeks, months, or even years of follow-up care to ensure complete recovery.
Eating disorders in men most often surface during the teen years, but in rare cases, men as old as 60 and boys as young as eight can be affected. In both sexes, the illnesses can lead to lifelong medical and psychological complications. An estimated 6 percent of cases result in death.
Most people find it difficult to halt the behavior without professional assistance. Although some men ultimately seek help, many continue to live with the disorders, often for years, and sometimes for a decade or more.
Men in support groups for eating disorders (as well as men in support groups for breast cancer and osteoporosis) say the public gradually is becoming more aware that these disorders can occur in men, too. They also say there's a long way to go. Some think doctors need to be enlightened. Others bemoan the lack of research. But most seem to agree that men should be educated about the disorders and how to detect them.