Anorexia was always a complaint that was associated with girls, especially teenagers. The pressure to constantly look good for their male counterparts would play out dangerously in the form of eating disorders in their cases. The latest, however, to hit the health market, is the concept of ‘male anorexia’.
This new trend is being blamed on pin-up boys of the sports world. Pictures of David Beckham and likes, that show him in his ultra-slim avatar (meaning – ‘form’). This has put added pressure on the men to look a little more like Beckham and his sports-town friends.
How bad is the ‘bad news’?
According to official figures, England has around more than 137 men who are suffering from extreme cases. They are currently undergoing therapies and medication to help sustain them and normalize their conditions. During 2001-02 phase, there was a slight ripple created when the first cases started showing up. That time around, however, the numbers managed to only touch 3 quarters of a century. This rise in numbers is quite significant; and worrying.
The nail was hit on the head when former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott confessed and revealed his battle with the eating disorder – bulimia. Calls from men to the health helplines increased ten folds. According to researchers, the condition of ‘male anorexia’ is becoming an ‘unrecognized spiraling epidemic’, as men also enter the purviews of being bothered by the concepts of an ‘ideal body’.
The condition affects children as well
There has been a relevant amount of increase in the number of male patients who have begun seeking help for the condition; however, the more startling and troubling issue is that of the number of children who are falling prey to this condition. There has been a 26% rise in the number of children who have been visiting doctors in the last one year.
There is, however, one more factor that has to be taken into consideration here. Children have been prone to being affected by eating disorders when they hit puberty; and in today’s world the age of puberty has also decreased. Thus, such problems come upon them when they aren’t even mentally mature enough to deal with situations.
Susan Ringwood, who is the Chief Executive of the eating disorder charity – BEAT, spoke about the rise in number of male anorexics. She pointed out that men, in traditional set ups, were less likely to talk about their problems, let alone seek help. The confession of Mr. Prescott seemed to do the trick for those hundreds who found the courage to open up and admit that they were in need of help.
How does the medical fraternity help?
Anorexics who visit the doctor’s clinics, are generally referred to an eating disorder specialist. In the case of children, however, the case will be handled by a mental health team.