June 18, 2015 by Castlewood Treatment Center in Eating Disorder Treatment Men typically only make up about 10 percent of known cases of anorexia or bulimia, however both sexes seem to struggle equally with binge eating disorder. The Binge Eating Disorder Association reports 40 percent of Americans who binge eat are men, and of 46,351 men and women studied, 11 percent of the women and 7.5 percent of men struggled with binge eating.
Binge eating disorder has been largely misunderstood as simple overeating, and in part, the secrecy of binge eating has kept it off the radar. Not many who struggle with BED find it easy to come forward for help or advocate for recovery because of negative stigma attached to overeating. Where dieting can be seen as being strong willed in our society, overeating is often construed as being indulgent or weak.
In addition to this, there are certain characteristics associated with masculinity which can make it particularly hard for men to be diagnosed with ED’s or seek help. Women aren’t the only ones who are subject to unrealistic cultural standards. Not only are men expected to handle difficulty independently, but being the larger sex, it can sometimes go unnoticed when a man is struggling with BED.
There can be an underlying assumption that boys and men can eat however they choose, and it can sometimes take significant weight gain for a man to confront eating habits. Particularly with adolescents it can be a challenge to identify, as we tend to think ‘they’re growing, they should eat what they want.’
The difference between simply overeating, or eating through a growth spurt will be recognizable through behavior. Someone with BED will oftentimes hide how much they are eating, or eat alone, stash food or trash and binge eating will be a pattern of behavior. It’s important to remember that eating disorders are symptomatic of underlying issues which need to be resolved, not just an overindulgence.
If you are concerned about your own eating habits or those of someone you know, don’t hesitate to get information and educate yourself about the facts!
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