The Sun carried out an investigation in a bid to discover the true scale of male anorexia and bulimia in the UK, as young boys feel increasing pressure to conform to a certain look.
According to NHS figures obtained by the tabloid newspaper from a freedom of information request, 78 boys under the age of 14 were admitted to hospital with an eating disorder in 2011; compared to 24 in 2001.
In addition, it was also revealed that 39 teenage boys received eating disorder treatment in 2011 compared to 15 in 2001, and 228 males were admitted to hospital last year in comparison to 108 in 2001.
Whilst the figures do indicate a growing problem, they do not account for GP consultations or help sought from a private clinic, meaning that the full extent of the problem could be even greater.
Whilst eating disorders still remain more prevalent among women, it is now estimated that 20 per cent of overall sufferers are male – that’s approximately 1.6 million individuals.
With the percentage of male sufferers continuing to rise, more needs to be done to identify them during the early stages so that effective help and treatment can be provided.
Experts have said this rise in the number of male eating disorder cases cold be attributed in part to growing scrutiny over the male body, and increased media coverage of fashion trends such as ‘skinny-jeans’. It is these factors in combination with stress triggers such as school exams and revision pressure that can lead to the development of an eating disorder.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health condition, so seeking treatment during the early stages is extremely important. Often, it can be difficult to recognise your own symptoms – confusing them with normal ‘low self-esteem’ or worries about your weight. If you are concerned that either yourself or someone you know may be suffering from an eating disorder then it is essential that treatment is encouraged/sought as soon as possible.
Anything you say to your GP will be completely confidential, and they will be able to provide you with a professional diagnosis and advice to help you on your way to recovery.
Whilst a dedicated team of medical professionals is essential for recovery, it may also help to discuss with a counsellor the emotional aspects of your eating disorder. To find out more about the role of counselling in eating disorder recovery, please visit our comprehensive fact-sheets to find out more.
The original article ‘Manorexia toll trebles in 10yrs’ was published in the 10/04/12 issue of The Sun.