Based on studies produced by the National Eating Disorders Association and other organizations, binge eating disorder is a common and possibly life-threatening form of eating disorder. The symptoms include recurring binge eating episodes (where the individual eats uncontrollably), feeling shame or distress following the episode and secrecy about the actions and feelings that come with it.
The occurrence of most types of eating disorder among males has been much lower than females. In recent years, however, awareness has been raised about eating disorders in men, which is commonly underreported. While women are generally diagnosed with eating disorders at a much higher rate than men, binge eating disorder is much more balanced between the genders. According to Psycom, 40 percent of binge eating disorder patients are male. Although the physical symptoms are generally the same in the long run, there are differences in how BED affects men and women in the short term.
How Is Binge Eating Disorder Different for Men?
Although it’s a stereotype, there is some truth to the concept that men are less likely to talk about emotions than women. All too often, men may perceive being open about their feelings as weakness and may be more likely to hide their problems. This leads to certain complicating factors for men who have developed a case of BED. These might include:
- Waiting Longer to Ask for Help – Men are more likely to wait before admitting there’s an issue, even to themselves. They’re often prone to think asking for help is a sign of weakness and will try to manage their disordered behavior alone, which often worsens the issue.
- Avoiding the Issue Entirely – Males are more likely to practice avoidance behaviors such as avoiding the scale or the doctor’s office. Women, however, are more likely to become compulsive about weighing themselves and trying to fit into certain clothes.
- Decreased Sexual Function – The inability to perform sexually is more pronounced in overweight men than the same group of women. Binge eating disorder symptoms such as obesity and blood pressure issues for males can affect sexual functioning negatively.
What Are Some of the Causes of BED in Men?
There are several kinds of triggers that cause both males and females to engage in binge eating episodes. The following are some of the triggers that most often affect males and cause disordered eating patterns:
- Restrictive Dieting and Poor Body Image – Males that tr