Most men dealing with eating disorders wait much longer to seek help than women suffering from the same disorder, a new study has found.
The study, which was recently published in the journal BMJ Open, finds that men suffering from eating disorders often go days without eating and often obsess about their weight. In some cases, men dealing with such disorders attempted to isolate themselves from friends and family, and only reached out for help when it was clear a crisis point had been reached.
Overall, researchers believe there needs to be more focus on men dealing with eating disorders, which means there can no longer be an assumption that anorexia, bulemia, and binge-eating are the problems of women alone.
“Men with eating disorders are under-diagnosed, under-treated and under-researched,” noted the study’s authors, Ulla Raianen of the University of Oxford and Kate Hunt of the University of Glasgow.
“Our findings suggest that men may experience particular problems in recognizing that they may have an eating disorder as a result of the continuing cultural construction of eating disorders as uniquely or predominantly a female problem,” the authors added.
This is hardly the first study examining men and eating disorders. A similar study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders three years ago, found that eating disorders can have the same impact on men as women, while men often wait longer to seek help. The study also found that approximately 4 million Americans were dealing with eating disorders of some kind.
Previously, studies have shown that men account for about one in every four eating disorder cases. But Raianen and Hunt insist this may not be accurate since, as they discovered, so few men are willing to come forward with the problem.