New figures have revealed that a growing number of men and boys are being taken to hospital needing urgent treatment for severe eating disorders.
Data from the NHS Information Centre has shown that the number of admissions for illnesses such as anorexia and bulimia has risen by 16% in the last year.
They are conditions often perceived as suffered by only women but it is now feared that more males are affected due to an increase of pressures they face. Despite more awareness there is sill stigma and shame associated with eating disorders among males.
Last year there were 228 hospital admissions for men and boys with anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders, including 78 admissions for teenagers aged 14 or under and another 39 in the 15-18 age bracket. The number of admissions for men of all ages has risen from 160 in 2007/8 to 182 in 2008/9 to 196 in 2009/10.
Sam Thomas, MGEDT Founder and Project Leader, comments: “As the leading organisation on this issue, we are not surprised to know there has been a rise in the number of hospital admissions in males. The reason for this could be that more males are coming forward or that there is a genuine increase in the numbers affected.
It’s important to recognise that there is no singular cause to eating disorders and is in fact a combination of pressures – money worries, relationships, self-image concerns, peer pressure and identity build up over time and impact on the sufferer both mentally and emotionally, ultimately leading to the development of eating disorders.
“In the past decade it’s arguable that males may feel more pressure due to a growing trend focusing on the ‘ideal body image.’ Whilst negative body image alone is not responsible for causing eating disorders, it magnifies insecurities and reinforces low feelings of self-worth.
“Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health condition so it’s vital that sufferers seek treatment early on in their illness.”
There has been a lot of interest in the rise since The Sun newspaper broke the story exclusively on Tuesday. To read their article click here