Risks For Men With Eating Disorders

Serving men age 17 and above in North Carolina and South Carolina, Carolina House offers a full continuum of treatment services. Our gender-specific programming is designed to support men who are struggling with eating disorders as well as certain co-occurring mental health challenges.

Eating Disorder Causes & Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for eating disorders among men

Men who struggle with eating disorders all have a unique experience of their condition, but we do know that certain genetic and environmental factors might make a person more likely to struggle with an eating disorder. These factors include:

  • Exposure to chronic stress, trauma, abuse, and/or neglect
  • Having a personal history of mental illness
  • Being in an environment or part of a culture that strongly values thinness
  • Being the victim of bullying
  • Family history of eating disorders or other mental illnesses

How Eating Disorders Affect Men

Learn about the many ways that eating disorders can impact men

While eating disorders are more commonly diagnosed in women, the truth is that one in 10 people who suffer from these debilitating disorders is male. The three most common eating disorders men suffer from are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Men with anorexia often have a distorted image of their body and believe themselves to be overweight when they are not, so they attempt to shed weight by not eating. Men with bulimia also believe that they are overweight, but they engage in a cycle of binging and purging, alternating between binging on excessive amounts of food and then using laxatives, vomiting, or extreme exercise to purge themselves of the calories they consumed. Men with binge-eating disorder eat excessively but do not engage in the purging behaviors of those with bulimia.

Men who struggle with eating disorders can find help at Carolina House. We understand the unique challenges that men who battle these painful disorders face, and our compassionate, expert staff has developed programs that are designed to help these men rediscover a healthy relationship with food and eating.

Why Consider Our Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Why you should consider Carolina House Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Durham, NC

The consequences of eating disorders are no less severe in men than they are in women. Depending on the eating disorder that a person struggles with, he can experience significant negative effects. His personal relationships will likely suffer, as will his job performance. He may become isolated and run into financial trouble if he loses his job. With certain eating disorders, he may become malnourished or obese. He is also at risk for suffering from organ damage, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and sexual dysfunction. He may even think about or attempt suicide. But no matter how hopeless things may seem, many of these negative consequences can be minimized or avoided with effective treatment.

Types of Eating Disorder Treatment Offered at Carolina House

Learn about therapies used in the treatment of eating disorders at Carolina House in Durham, NC

Located in Durham, Carolina House offers partial day treatment programming and intensive outpatient treatment for males age 17 and older who are suffering from eating disorders. Since opening in 2006, we have made it our top priority to provide premier treatment in a safe and comfortable setting for the men who are entrusted into our care. Men who receive treatment at Carolina House can rest assured that the knowledgeable and skilled staff members that make up their treatment teams will competently guide them and encourage them as they make the lifestyle changes necessary for true healing and recovery.

While participating in the partial day treatment program, also referred to as our partial hospitalization program, or PHP, men will work with their designated treatment teams to develop individualized plans of action that will help them overcome the struggles they are facing. The following interventions may be included in these treatment plans:

Medical care: As men work to defeat the symptoms of an eating disorder, they will benefit from having ongoing medical supervision to address various medical concerns that may arise. Such concerns may include re-feeding issues, complications from starvation, somatic complaints, electrolyte imbalances, and gastrointestinal distress. Our psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and registered dietitian are all highly skilled in the treatment of eating disorders and will monitor and manage clients’ medical needs throughout their time in treatment. Additionally, clients are followed medically by their outpatient internist, with whom the staff at Carolina House will collaborate when appropriate.

Re-feeding: Specialized meal plans are created for clients to follow as they work toward overcoming the symptoms of an eating disorder. Clients in PHP work closely with the registered dietitian, the culinary leader, a staff therapist, and the clinical and medical teams to create a plan that adequately addresses their nutritional needs during each stage of treatment. Meals are closely monitored by the staff at Carolina House so that men are afforded the highest level of support as they work to achieve nutritional stabilization and decrease their eating disorder rituals and behaviors.

Medication management: When men are suffering from symptoms of co-occurring mental health conditions in addition to an eating disorder, there may be certain medications that can provide relief from their symptoms. Clients in partial day treatment have the opportunity to meet with the psychiatrist or nurse practitioner once or twice each week, depending on their particular needs.

Individual therapy: A vital part of the therapeutic experience for men who are recovering from eating disorders in PHP is found in the one-on-one individual therapy sessions that they have with their therapist. Therapists use a wide variety of appropriate therapeutic techniques throughout the course of these sessions. Individual therapy is designed to provide clients with a private, confidential setting where they can receive encouragement as they discuss their concerns, the progress they are making in treatment, and any setbacks that have arisen.

Family therapy: At Carolina House, we believe that families play an instrumental role in helping our male clients to successfully recover from eating disorders. For this reason, we implement weekly family therapy sessions in the individualized treatment plans of our clients. Led by each client’s primary therapist, these sessions typically last between 45 and 60 minutes. Additional family therapy sessions may be included on an as-needed basis.

Group therapy: While in PHP, clients typically participate in four to five group therapy sessions each day. Food and feeling groups, which are short, skills identification groups, take place every day after lunch and dinner. Groups that are centered on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) occur three times each week, and interpersonal process groups are held twice per week. Additionally, two integrated health groups take place each week and can include addiction education and 12-Step facilitation. Furthermore, a variety of other process and psychoeducational groups take place throughout the week and may include discussions on the following topics:

  • Media awareness
  • Nutrition
  • Body image
  • Relapse prevention
  • Guided self-care

Experiential therapy: In order to provide male clients with a holistic approach to treatment as they work toward overcoming eating disorders, the staff at Carolina House offers various experiential therapy options. These therapies each take place once per week and may include the following:

  • Art therapy
  • Culinary group
  • Yoga therapy

The duration of time that male clients spend in PHP will vary from person to person depending upon each individual’s unique needs. However, the average length of stay is between 30 and 60 days. Programming is held Monday through Friday from 12-7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Included as part of programming, male clients will go on restaurant and snack outings so that they can obtain real-life exposure as they enhance their independence and confidence in overcoming disordered eating behaviors.

Once they have completed programming in PHP, clients may either step-down to our intensive outpatient program (IOP) or move to less intensive continuing care services within their communities. Our staff will work diligently with clients to determine the most appropriate next level of care and arrange aftercare services.

If you or a loved one is struggling to overcome the symptoms of an eating disorder and would benefit from treatment that emphasizes the unique needs of men who are battling this condition, look no further than Carolina House. We want to help you transform your life into one of good health and vitality.