Here at Fairwinds Treatment Center, we know that eating disorders exact a huge price on their victims whether they are male or female. While most people associate binge-eating struggles with women, many men are also silently battling the compulsive urge to eat. Keith Ayoob, a registered dietitian at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, told ABC News that societal expectations may make them too ashamed to seek help, putting their health in serious jeopardy.
"It's thought of as a women's disease," Ayoob told the news source. "Guys are reluctant to seek help. Eating disorders of all types are socially less acceptable than other addictive behaviors. If you drink or smoke, it may be an addiction, but if it's an eating disorder, you are crazy in society's mind."
According to a 2012 report in The New York Times, although only one in 10 anorexia and bulimia patients are male, almost an equal percentage of men and women engage in patterns of binge eating. A study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders stated that in a survey of tens of thousands of subjects between the ages of 18 and 65, 11 percent of women and 7. 5 percent of men admitted to binging on food.
Recovered binge eater Ron Saxen wrote a book about his struggles with an overeating disorder, which caused him to gain more than 100 pounds. He says he started using food to comfort himself as a child, when he was anticipating a beating from his physically abusive father. Saxen continued to eat to feel better as he grew up, with his overeating worsening during periods of stress. As an adult he got a job as a model, but lost the position when he suddenly put on an enormous amount of weight, going from 180 to 300 pounds. He told The Times that at one point he was eating 10,000 to 15,000 calories a day, compulsively gulping down milkshakes, french fries, Big Mac hamburgers, chocolate bars, candy and ice cream.
Saxen told the newspaper that it took him years to seek help. Now he likens himself to an alcoholic, saying that he is better but still has to take things one day at a time. He speaks out about his struggle in the hope that it will inspire other men to get treatment.
Traumatic experiences like those Saxen experienced in his childhood often trigger or worsen eating disorders, which is why Fairwinds Treatment Center employs its unique dual diagnosis methodology to address undiagnosed psychological, emotional and mental challenges. Dr. Pauline Powers provides a personalized combination of clinical, nutritional and therapeutic counseling to help patients heal inside and out. As a globally renowned eating disorder expert and former NEDA president, Dr. Powers can help you or your loved one achieve lasting recovery.