The number of men seeking help for eating disorders is on the increase, says a leading men’s therapist.
Dr. Phil Tyson says that national statistics estimate that between 10 and 25 per cent of people experiencing eating disorders are men and that his practice, based in Manchester, is reflecting this statistic.
“We are now seeing 17 and 18-year-old males that are exhibiting the similar cultural pressures that young girls and women have always had: to be ‘beautiful’.”
Dr. Tyson says that men are presenting themselves with a wide range of unhealthy body issues including an addiction to exercise and poor diet, sometimes coupled with the taking of steroids, in order to try to achieve ‘male beauty’.
Other symptoms can include anorexia and bulimia or bigorexia (also known as reverse anorexia) where a man is showing compulsive obsessive behaviour to continually build his muscles. This might lead the man to spend excessive time in the gym lifting weights or taking supplements to ‘bulk up’.
“It is quite evident that there is a lack of professional resources for men suffering from eating disorders in the UK. Many professional counsellors and psychotherapists have not been trained to recognise the symptoms and are failing to notice and treat men with eating disorders. Equally, men find it difficult to accept diagnosis and treatment, although there’s not much support avaliable – particularly in the NHS.
“The exception is the charitable organisation ‘Men Get Eating Disorders Too’ which provides some guidance and signposting and is working had to raise awareness.”
As well as appearing on radio and being quoted in national magazines, Dr. Tyson, 44, writes a blog about men’s mental health, well-being and relationship issues.
Find out more: www.menstherapy.co.uk
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