The title of this blog shouldn’t be necessary, but it is.
Shockingly, even in 2018, many people are not aware of the fact that eating disorders and body dysmorphia affect more than just women. In fact, all genders can develop eating disorders and/or body dysmorphia. Although there is data that says, “20 million women and 10 million men” suffer with eating disorders within the United States, that data is relatively archaic.
And, it is also questionable since many studies end up with skewed prevalence figures due to gender bias. We also know that numbers might be low because many men still face great stigma when it comes to reporting they have an eating disorder since eating disorders have historically been touted as a “woman’s disease.” Akin to talking about breast cancer or spousal abuse, men are not necessarily raised to understand that: “Eating disorders can happen to men, too…and if it happens to me, I should not be ashamed, I should come forward for help.”
When stigma silences people, it is not good. In fact, various studies suggest that the risk of mortality for males with eating disorders is higher than it is for females –could this be a result of stigma? More research is necessary to determine how many men suffer, how their course of suffering might vary from other genders, and what their treatment trajectory is, especially if they suffer from comorbid conditions like depression, excessive exercise, substance disorders and anxiety.
But until that research occurs and until stigma fully disappears, we are gladdened to see the issue of male eating disorders getting publicized like an overview on WetPaint.com. KUDOS to the men who came forward to say, “This happened to me and I am not ashamed.” We also applaud the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals for hosting a session at their 2018 Symposium that will focus on males with eating disorders.
No one should be afraid to ask for help for an eating disorder, regardless of gender. No one should be denied treatment for an eating disorder, ever. At Kantor & Kantor, LLP, we represent clients of any gender who have been denied benefits for treatment. If you or someone you know has been denied insurance benefits for treatment, please call Kantor & Kantor for a free consultation or fill out our online contact form.