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Men get eating disorders too 

Do you have an eating disorder or know someone who does, perhaps a friend or a member of your family?

The Eating Disorders Association, known as beat, is the leading UK charity for people with eating disorders and their families and has been working hard for the last 20 years. Their vision is simple – Eating disorders will be beaten!

Eating disorders are a serious mental illness affecting 1.6 million people in the UK. beat provides helplines for adults and young people, online support and a UK-wide network of self-help groups to help people beat their eating disorder.

Eating disorders are illnesses that are generally believed to affect women rather than men. However, with more men now contacting beat than in the past this raised the question of what treatment and services are available for them. beat therefore commissioned a review of specialist health care provision across the UK for men with eating disorders.

The overall findings identified a number of issues for men.

Gender and sexual orientation are significant factors.

Approximately 10% of people with eating disorders are men and approximately 20% of men with eating disorders identify as gay, which is double the proportion of gay men in the population.

It is clear that the general lack of recognition of eating disorders in men makes it more difficult for them to access specialist eating disorder services. Their problems are less likely to be recognised and diagnosed by professionals including GPs and psychiatrists and therefore their illness may be well established before treatment is offered.

Men find it hard to acknowledge they have an eating disorder and then to seek help. For example, weight loss is more likely to be attributed to physical causes rather than to psychological ones.

Whether you are a man or a woman, you can contact beat for help on www.beat.com