Bulimia: In a Man's World
Eating Disorders are often seen as an issue only women have to face, that men are safe from the dangerous behavioural traps that can destroy families and lives. However this is a myth and men are at just as a significant risk of suffering from Eating Disorders, especially Bulimia.
Recently, Sam Attwater of Eastenders disclosed that he was bullied as a child due to his weight. He became trapped in a cycle of overeating, as his bullying led to depression and to ‘deal’ with it he turned to food. As the overeating behaviour took over, his weight increased and only offered more fuel for the other children to bully him with. As his self-loathing built up his bulimia took over and he began to purge after eating and exercise compulsively.
Bulimia amongst men is often brought about through, although not restricted to, compulsive over-exercising where the sheer amount of physical exertion can result in the purging behaviour.What is difficult for men suffering from Bulimia is that the physical act of purging is a very addictive process and often in a sports and fitness environment, extreme physical exertion is accepted or even admired. This combination can lead to engrained behavioural patterns that become exceptionally difficult to break from. The impacts are huge and varied, however this specific combination has a dramatic effect on a person’s sex drive.
There is a great deal of shame attached to male Eating Disorders, resulting in men rarely seeking help or even acknowledging they have a problem, despite the physical and psychological damage they can do. The result is that Eating Disorders are often highly secretive behaviours, especially Bulimia which has less explicit physical signs than Anorexia.
The myth of men’s Eating Disorders needs to be dispelled, allowing people to come forward and receive the help their behavioural tendencies need. As with any illness or addictive issue, it is always important to focus on the root of the problem, which is why complete residential and holistic care is always recommended.