Eating disorders affect men, too

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By ROBERT HERNANDEZ

Women are not the only ones who suffer from eating disorders. There should be equal emphasis on recognizing them in men.

Eating disorders have always been seen as a women’s issue, but there has been a rising increase in men since the late ‘90s.

In a 2007 Harvard study of 3,000 people with eating disorders, men represented 20 percent of those who suffered from anorexia or bulimia.

Forty percent of those men suffered from binge eating disorder, defined as compulsive overeating.

Also, some men see themselves as smaller than they really are and try drugs to bulk themselves up.

Eating disorders are harder to detect in males, mostly because people don’t expect men to suffer from body image issues. Most men live in denial about their disorder or refuse to seek treatment because they feel it is emasculative.

Those who do seek help face challenges. Of the 72 U.S. inpatient rehabilitation facilities that treat people suffering from eating disorders, just 41 accept men.

Currently, only two rehab facilities in Arizona treat men: Rosewood Ranch and Remuda Ranch, both located in the small town of Wickenburg.

Most rehab facilities refuse treatment out of fear that a male presence will trigger negative reactions in their female tenants. This discrimination harms the growing number of males with eating disorders who seek professional help.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have an eating disorder, go to mybodyscreening.org to take a free, anonymous self-assessment.

And remember, eating disorders aren’t sexist.

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