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About Eating Disorders & Men

Male SwimmingAlthough not as common, eating disorders affect men just as they affect women and should be taken just as seriously. The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that more than one million men and boys struggle with eating disorders and this number is on the rise.

The prevalence of men with eating disorders may be surprising as men are generally seen as more comfortable with their weight. However, societal pressures affecting women, also affect men. Men of all ages are at risk for developing eating disorders, which may include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, and over-exercising.

Unfortunately, men are less likely to receive proper treatment for their eating disorders due to the social stigma that eating disorders only affect women. Timely treatment for men is crucial, as medical complications of severe malnutrition may be, in certain cases, worse in males than in females with anorexia nervosa. For instance, bone density loss (osteopenia or osteoporosis) occurs earlier and is more severe in males than in females with anorexia nervosa, and fractures occur at higher bone density in males than in females.

ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders Treatment for Men

The ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders is the ideal program for a man to start his treatment as it specializes in providing comprehensive care with severe eating disorders from across the United States. Male patients at ACUTE receive high-quality, one-on-one care from our multidisciplinary team of eating disorder experts. At least 10% of ACUTE's patients are men, ranging in age from 17 to 54 years old.

Comprehensive treatment plans are developed for each patient with the goal of medical stabilization, including the avoidance or management of refeeding syndrome. Additionally, ACUTE provides outstanding psychiatric support for any psychiatric co-morbidities that men with eating disorders may have. Once stabilized, all patients are provided discharge planning and a smooth transition to one of the country’s top male eating disorder treatment programs for continued recovery.

We encourage men to contact ACUTE to learn more about our program, to receive a free medical assessment or to begin the admission process.

ACUTE Admission Criteria for Men

  • Be 17 years of age or older
  • Weigh less than 70% of their Ideal Body Weight (IBW) OR have Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 15
  • Suffer from serious medical complications as a result of their eating disorder, such as an electrolyte imbalance, fluid problems, organ failure, cardiac irregularities or gastrointestinal complications
  • Need to detox from a purging mechanism, such as vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, while avoiding the common complications frequently associated with the cessation, including excessive edema or severe gastrointestinal complications
  • Have previously experienced bouts of refeeding syndrome or excessive edema (swelling)

World-Renowned Men & Eating Disorders Expert at ACUTE

ACUTE's Medical Director Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS, has conducted ground-breaking research on males with eating disorders. The second edition of his book Medical Complications of Eating Disorders (2010) includes a chapter dedicated to this research, as well as information about research he has conducted to study osteoporosis and men with eating disorders.

Men & Eating Disorders In the News

Read the Special Report: 20% Of Anorexics are Men in the September 2012 issue of GQ Magazine.