Men & Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that can affect men and women, at any age.

Eating disorders can be seen as a way of coping with emotional distress, or as a symptom of underlying issues.

It is a common misconception that eating disorders only affect women. The reality is that eating disorders affect both men and women, boys and girls. 

When trying to understand and/or support a man with an eating disorder it can be helpful to be mindful that eating disorders can present in different ways in males and that there are certain risk factors that are more ‘male-oriented’ to be aware of. However, in terms of treatment and the recovery process, anyone experiencing an eating disorder needs help and support to embark on, and continue with, the journey of recovery.

Types of eating disorder include:

Anorexia Nervosa is characterised by the deliberate refusal to eat enough to maintain a normal body weight.

Bulimia Nervosa is characterised by repeated episodes of binge-eating followed by behaviour aimed at compensating for the out of control eating.

Binge Eating Disorder (or Compulsive Overeating) is characterised by periods of compulsive binge eating or overeating.

EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) refers to a condition where a person may meet some but not all of the diagnostic criteria for one of the other defined eating disorders.

OSFED – In 2013, Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) replaced the eating disorder category previously described as EDNOS.

Eating disorders may sometimes present somewhat differently in men. For example, rather than restricting their diet, men affected by anorexia may focus more on over-exercising and behaviours focussed on building muscle mass.