About Male Eating Disorders

Awareness and understanding are essential tools in the effort to help men who have been struggling with eating disorders. At Carolina House Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Durham, NC, we’re proud to be a source of eating disorder information, treatment, and support for men age 17 and above throughout North Carolina and South Carolina.

Learn About Eating Disorders Among Men

Get the facts about how males are affected by eating disorders

Eating disorders are more common among girls and women than among men and boys. However, this does not mean that males do not develop eating disorders. As awareness of eating disorders among men continues to increase, more men are receiving accurate diagnoses of eating disorders.

Various studies suggest that men may account for between 10% and 25% of the most common types of eating disorders. This means that as many as one of every four people who develop an eating disorder may be male.

Data collected by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) indicates that more than 1 million men are currently dealing with an eating disorder. Many experts believe that the number of men who are dealing with an eating disorder is actually much larger.

In other words, if you are an adult male and you are struggling with an eating disorder, you are far from alone.

At Carolina House Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Durham, NC, we understand the impact that eating disorders can have on men. We’ve used our insights to develop specialized eating disorder treatment programming for men age 17 and above.

Without proper treatment, an eating disorder can have a devastating impact on virtually all areas of your life. However, when you choose to participate in eating disorder treatment for men at Carolina House, you can regain control of your behavior and pursue a healthier and more satisfying future.

How to Help a Loved One

Helping a male friend or family member get treatment for an eating disorder at Carolina House in Durham, NC

If a man in your life has been demonstrating the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder, you may be experiencing a variety of conflicting emotions. Of course, you will be worried about your loved one’s behaviors and concerned that he may be endangering his health. However, a lack of information about eating disorders among men may have led you to believe that males do not develop eating disorders. This can lead to confusion, frustration, or even anger.

First, please know that all of these emotions are valid, normal, and understandable. What’s most important is that you get the information that you need to address your concerns, eliminate confusion, and empower you to help your loved one.

When you educate yourself about the signs, symptoms, and effects of eating disorders among men, you’ll be better prepared to understand what your friend or family member is experiencing. As you learn about the statistics related to male eating disorders, you’ll realize that you and your loved one are not alone. Finally, as you research eating disorder treatment options for men, you’ll discover that there are many paths to recovery for males who have eating disorders.

Sharing this information with your loved one may pose a challenge, but this is an essential step. Effective eating disorder treatment programs for men, such as Carolina House, can provide you with guidance about talking to a loved one. The following are key points to remember:

  • This should be a conversation, not a lecture. Plan to listen as much as you speak. Your goals should be to express your concern, emphasize your support, share what you’ve learned, and understand your loved one’s feelings about entering an eating disorder treatment program for men.
  • Be prepared for pushback, hesitance, or even anger. Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions. Shame, guilt, and low self-esteem are common experiences among males who have eating disorders. These symptoms may prompt your loved one to deny that he has a problem, refuse to get treatment, and express hostility toward you.
  • Don’t let the conversation turn into an argument. Don’t issue ultimatums or attempt to assign blame. Remember that the entire purpose of this conversation is to help someone that you care about. It may take time for your loved one to acknowledge that he needs to enter a treatment program for men with eating disorders. Keep the lines of communication open.
  • If your loved one acknowledges the problem and expresses a desire to enter an eating disorder treatment program for men, provide whatever assistance you can to support this decision. Schedule appointments, provide transportation, arrange for childcare, and do whatever else you can that will allow your loved one to focus on his health.

If at all possible, don’t attempt to accomplish this all on your own. Work together with a small group of trusted friends and family members. You can share the workload, provide multiple perspectives through which to approach your loved one, and offer moral support to one another.

If the stress of this experience threatens your own emotional well-being, consider attending a support group or scheduling individual outpatient therapy sessions for yourself. You cannot provide maximum support for your loved one if you’re neglecting your own needs.

Finally, remember that recovery from eating disorders is a long process. The time that your loved one spends in an eating disorder treatment program for men will be just one part of his recovery journey. Plan to be a source of continued support before, during, and after his time in treatment.

Types of Treatment That Help Men Overcome Eating Disorders

Learn about the services and support that can help men achieve long-term recovery from eating disorders

The best eating disorder treatment plan for a man is one that is customized according to his specific needs and goals. At Carolina House in Durham, NC, all men who are entrusted into our care complete detailed assessments and follow personalized courses of treatment.

Depending upon a variety of individual factors, a man’s time in our eating disorder treatment program may include a wide range of therapies, educational opportunities, and support services.

Individual and group therapy are fundamental elements of care in our eating disorder treatment program for men. These types of therapy help men to process successes and setbacks, express their thoughts and feelings, practice healthy communication skills, and learn from others.

When appropriate, family therapy can also be a valuable part of a man’s personalized eating disorder treatment plan. Family therapy allows family members and close friends to address how they have been impacted by their loved one’s eating disorder. Family therapy can also teach all participants how to function as a more cohesive unit and best support each other.

Eating disorder treatment for men at our Durham, NC, treatment center also typically includes various experiential therapies. Art therapy, body movement therapy, yoga, meditation, and related activities are dynamic ways to express emotions and reconnect with one’s best self. Experiential therapies can also teach men new skills that they can use during the post-treatment phase of their recovery.

The educational component of eating disorder treatment for men at Carolina House helps men develop essential skills that will support their continued recovery. Lessons may focus on types of eating disorders, the recovery process, avoiding triggers, nutrition, shopping for and preparing healthy meals, and a host of similar topics.

Remember, there is no such thing as one perfect type of treatment for men who have eating disorders. What’s most important is getting help at a treatment center that offers comprehensive services and that can personalize these options to create the focused plan that’s perfect for you.

Continuing Care After Eating Disorder Treatment

Continuing care options for men who have completed eating disorder treatment at Carolina House in Durham, NC

Treatment is clearly a vital step on the path of successful recovery from an eating disorder. But the time that you spend in treatment will just be one step on your journey. At Carolina House, we work closely with all men to develop the detailed discharge plans that will guide the post-treatment phases of their recovery from eating disorders.

The goal of our discharge planning process is to ensure that men have the support that they need to maintain and build upon the progress that they make at our center. Depending upon each person’s unique needs and goals, his discharge plan may contain a referral to a step-down outpatient eating disorder program, information about community-based services, recommendations for local support groups, and any other guidance that will be valuable to him in the months and years following his time at Carolina House.

When you choose the Carolina House eating disorder treatment program for men, you can be secure in the knowledge that your team will work diligently to prepare you for long-term success.