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Male Eating Disorders

Eating disorders is an umbrella term for illnesses that are characterized by extreme concern and/or distress regarding one’s body weight or shape, combined with unhealthy, irregular eating habits.

While American society openly addresses the challenges that women face in regards to eating disorders, it tends to limit the fact that it affects the male population as well. The most common types of eating disorders that affect teenage males include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder. Unfortunately, eating disorders are incredibly common amongst the youth of America. The flip side is that nowadays, there are many different means available to help a young male recover from an eating disorder. Below is a breakdown of the three most common types of eating disorders that occur in young males.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa typically includes restricting one’s food intake, accompanied by an erroneous notion of being overweight (even in situations where the young person is actually severely underweight). Teens struggling with anorexia may exhibit behavioral warning signs such as skipping meals, over-exercising, obsessively reading nutritional information, constantly weighing themselves, regularly making excuses not to eat, denial of a problem despite excessive weight loss…etc.

There are many physical and emotional signs and symptoms that can occur as a result of anorexia. Some of which can include the following:

  • Appearing frail/ extremely thin
  • Exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Hair loss
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Weak bones
  • Dehydration
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Paleness
  • Depression
  • Brittle nails
  • Social isolation
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Stunted growth
  • Fear of weight gain
  • Distorted body image
  • Denial of a problem

The above are examples of the possible physical and emotional symptoms that a young person may experience from their struggles with anorexia and can occur in any combination with varying severities.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is an eating disorder that occurs when a teen engages in binge eating, followed by a means to compensate for overeating (excessive exercise, abuse of laxatives and/or diuretics, vomiting…etc.) a minimum of two times a week for three months. Adolescents struggling with bulimia may exhibit some of the following behavioral warning signs: continuous dieting, regular visits to the bathroom after eating or in the middle of meals, hides food, loses control around food, eats large amounts of food in one sitting…etc. In addition to the warning signs, there are several physical and emotional signs that become apparent in teenage males who struggle with bulimia. Some of them can include the following examples:

  • Sore throat
  • Constipation
  • Uncontrollable anger
  • Anxiety
  • Dry skin
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Tooth decay
  • Social isolation
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fear of weight gain
  • Distorted body image
  • Denial of a problem
  • Impulsivity
  • Emotional distress
  • Swollen face

Due to the nature of bulimia, it is not uncommon for young men who struggle with bulimia to maintain a normal body weight. This is why looking out for the above signs is important, as it can otherwise go undetected.

Binge Eating Disorder

Young males with Binge Eating Disorder lose control over eating. They do not compensate for their overeating and typically become obese. There are several common behavioral red flags that a young male struggling with binge eating disorder may exhibit. Some of them can include the following: food hoarding, eating when not hungry, uses food as a means to control emotions, eats alone, hides empty food wrappers, loses control around food, eats excessive amounts of food at one time…etc. Binge eating disorder can take a serious toll on a young person’s body and mind. The physical and emotional symptoms that a teen may experience can include any combination of the following:

  • Joint pain
  • Social isolation
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Anxiety
  • Type II Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure

Young Males who struggle with Binge Eating Disorder frequently develop intense feelings of guilt and shame surrounding their inability to control their eating, which can lead to furthering the severity of their eating disorder.

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact an individual for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family.