While men make up about 10 percent of patients with anorexia and bulimia, both sexes struggle almost equally with binge eating. According to the Binge Eating Disorder Association, 40 percent of the estimated 10 million Americans who binge eat are men. Binge eating is defined as consuming large amounts of food within a two-hour period at least twice per week, combined with loss of control. Those struggling with this disorder often consume thousands of calories in one sitting, followed by an overwhelming sense of shame and self-loathing, which leads to further binging. The causes and underlying mechanisms of binge eating are similar to other eating disorders. Binge eaters may suffer from low self-esteem, past trauma or weight-related bullying, or use food to numb emotions and cope with stress. One factor that differentiates binge eating in men and women is that it is more likely to go unnoticed in men. Even if they are overweight or obese, as an estimated 70 percent of people with binge disorder are, eating more and carrying more weight are more socially acceptable for men than women. Heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other weight-related health conditions are common, as are mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Binge eating, like other eating disorders, can impact a man’s career, relationships and every area of his life. Compounding the problem is the reality that many men do not seek treatment for fear of appearing weak, strange or like less of a man. Although men may not reach out for help as often, treatment is equally effective for men as it is for women. There are also support groups and eating disorder treatment programs, some of which have specialized tracks for men. From an article by Carolyn C. Ross, M.D., M.P.H http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-healing/201210/binge-eating-in-men-0
We have it in our head
that if we fill our stomachs,
we’ll fill our hearts.
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