The Rise of Eating Disorders in Men

The Rise of Eating Disorders in Men

By: Michaela Reynolds

Eating disorders are commonly known to only occur in women and are associated with the desire of wanting to be thin; however, eating disorders still occur in men and look vastly different from the presentation in women. Men are not looking to be thinner, but instead are trying to get muscular and bulk up. Therefore, weight-loss behaviors usually do not apply to them. Masculine body ideals are influencing men to diet and exercise in distinctly different ways than are present in women.

Researchers proposed that the most common eating disorders in men are muscularity or muscle dysmorphia, also known as reverse anorexia. The core symptom of muscle dysmorphia is the fear of not being muscular enough. Behaviors associated with this fear include compulsive exercising, disordered eating that include protein supplements and restrictive eating, and the use of enhancing drugs and steroids. Seeking treatment can be difficult but if left untreated, the eating disorder can cause emotional damage that can lead to serious physical consequences. Due to the emotional, mental, and physical damages of body dysmorphia and reverse anorexia, interventions are crucial so they can lead to a normal life. Intervention allows a male to properly heal from their eating disorder. Also, it is important to note that there is a low awareness of eating disorders in men. Public awareness needs to come in focus as eating disorders cause many dangers.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201)368-3700 or (212)722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/eating-disorders/eating-disorders-in-men#What-do-eating-disorders-in-men-look-like?

https://www.verywellmind.com/male-eating-disorders-4140606

https://renewedsupport.org/nedawareness-week-reverse-anorexia/Rise of Eating Disorder in Men

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Men & Eating Disorders: The Quiet Struggle

By: Valeria Dubon

When discussing eating disorders, many people associate it towards women and their own personal struggles with the disorder. Although women often do carry the burden of trying to look a certain way and appeal to a certain body type, many people do not realize how those same standards negatively affect men and in what ways. Some of the reasons as to why eating disorders in men are not as studied and understood compared to women are simply due to factors such as:

  • The stigma associated with males seeking help 
  • Eating disorders in men having different symptoms compared to women
  • Strong association with eating disorders and women in the media

Previous statistics indicate that men make up about ten percent of eating disorders. However, one thing to acknowledge is that many men refuse to come forward with their disorder. This in turn validates the argument that the real number of men who suffer from eating disorders is much higher.

There are several key differences when it comes to men and women suffering from this disorder. For example, males with eating disorders are at a much older age on average compared to females; they also tend to have greater risk of psychiatric problems such as anxiety/depression and engage in more suicidal behaviors. One of the most common forms of eating disorders in men is called muscle dysmorphia, which is essentially a type of body dysmorphia; its core symptom is a fear of not being muscular enough. Other symptoms associated with it may include compulsive exercise and use of supplements. 

When it comes to treatment, the biggest hurdle for men is simply getting rid of the stigma that eating disorders carry. Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and family based therapy are shown to be effective, both of these are also effective when dealing with women who have eating disorders.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for eating disorders, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources :

https://www.verywellmind.com/male-eating-disorders-4140606 

February: Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

By: Julia Massa

Teen dating violence, also known as intimate partner violence or intimate relationship violence, affects one in three teenagers, ages 12 to 19 nationwide. This population is likely to experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from their partner before entering adulthood. The abuse can take many forms including stalking, harassment, or physical or sexual abuse. In fact, 10% of adolescents report being a victim of physical violence prior to experiencing sexual assault or rape. Girls are more vulnerable to experience violence in their relationships and are likely to develop suicidal ideations, eating disorders, or use drugs. In addition, adolescents are likely to carry these behaviors into future relationships.

The month of February signifies the undying efforts to raise awareness for teen dating violence by promoting advocacy and education to younger individuals so that they can notice the red flags and escape potential abuse from a partner. This year’s theme for Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month is “Talk About It,” which encourages younger individuals to participate in conversations differentiating both healthy and unhealthy relationships. It is important to note that this is an issue that affects not only teenagers, but their families, friends, and the community as a whole. Many cases go unreported since victims are hesitant and scared to open up to their family or peers about it.

Safety planning guides, participating in the That’s Not Cool Ambassador Program, attending webinars, supporting youth led projects, and advocating through social media platforms are various ways an individual can spread awareness and enhance their knowledge on ways to help victims notice patterns of abuse. On February 8th, it is encouraged to wear orange to show victims that they have our support and attention. Love is Respect.

If you or someone you know is struggling with being in an abusive relationship, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://youth.gov/feature-article/teen-dating-violence-awareness-and-prevention-month

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Body Dysmorphia: Symptoms and Treatment

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder where one intensely focuses on appearance and body image, and cannot stop thinking about perceived defects and flaws. These flaws are minor and cannot be seen by others. The individual may feel so ashamed, anxious, and embarrassed that social interactions are avoided. These symptoms can cause extreme distress, be extremely time consuming, be disruptive, and cause serious problems in one’s work, school, and social life. Some may experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Both men and women can struggle with body dysmorphic disorder.

Symptoms of body dysmorphia can include:

  • A strong belief that you have a defect in your appearance that causes you to feel deformed and ugly
  • Engagement of behaviors that are difficult to resist or control such as frequently checking the mirror, skin picking, and grooming
  • Seeking cosmetic procedures but gaining little satisfaction
  • Constantly comparing your appearance to others
  • Often seeking reassurance from others about your appearance

Body dysmorphic disorder affects both males and females and typically starts in the early teenage years.

Risk factors include:

  • Societal pressure and expectations of beauty
  • Negative life experiences such as abuse
  • Having another mental health disorder

Shame and embarrassment are often associated with body dysmorphia and that may keep one from seeking treatment. Body dysmorphic disorder can last for years or be lifelong. If left untreated, it can get worse over time, so it is important that the disorder is identified and treated.

If you or someone you know is struggling with body dysmorphic disorder, please contact our psychotherapy/psychiatry offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353938

https://www.healthshots.com/mind/mental-health/everything-you-need-to-know-about-body-dysmorphic-disorder/

Image Source

https://www.healthshots.com/mind/mental-health/everything-you-need-to-know-about-body-dysmorphic-disorder/

The Relationship between OCD and Eating Disorders

The Relationship between OCD and Eating Disorders

By: Suzanne Zaugg

Eating disorders are characterized as obsessive, repetitive thoughts, and ritualistic behaviors. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic long lasting disorder that characterizes uncontrollable thoughts or behaviors that an individual may feel they need to repeat certain things over and over. Statistics show that people with eating disorders are more likely to show signs of OCD, due to the overlapping traits of both OCD and eating disorders.

Understanding the similarities and differences between eating disorders and OCD can help develop a more comprehensive understanding of a patient that presents both of these disorders. People with an eating disorder may experience intrusive thoughts about food and body image, and may develop ritualistic behaviors. Examples of ritualistic behavior pertaining to eating disorders include body checking for any changes in shape or size, frequent weight checking, and skipping meals. An important distinction between OCD and eating disorders lies in the relationship between the thought and action of the individual.  People with OCD are typically interested in ridding themselves of their thoughts and feelings whereas; people with eating disorders may feel more tied to the components of this disorder and feels as if it is a part of their identity.

Since both eating disorders and OCD share overlapping diagnostic characteristics, treatments will look similar. Both exposure therapy and cognitive behavior therapy are very helpful treatments for both eating disorders and OCD. Exposure therapy is a psychological treatment that involves exposing the patient to the anxiety source or its context without the intention to cause any danger. Also, cognitive-behavior therapy is a treatment approach that helps you recognize negative or unhelpful thought patters.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.waldeneatingdisorders.com/blog/eating-disorders-and-ocd-a-complicated-mix/

Managing Eating Disorders during the Holidays

By: Suzanne Zaugg

Holidays are a described as being, “the most wonderful time of year” filled with joy and love, it is a time when families to come together. Most, people are gathered around in the season of giving celebrating their holiday cheer, while, people with mental health issues, struggle more throughout the holiday season. According to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people tend to feel their stress increase during the holiday season, which can lead to physical and mental health disorders, such as eating disorders. Signs of an eating disorder include feeling stressed around food, fearful of weight gain, guilt after eating, and missing events that are food focused. These signs tend to increase through the holiday season, so it is important to keep an eye out if you or a loved one start to experience these or similar symptoms. Learning ways to manage relationships with food is a great way to feel better through the holidays, for those who have eating disorders.

Strategies to get through the holiday season:

  1. Show self-compassion. Give yourself compassion through the difficult holiday season.
  2. Ask for help. Find a family member or friend as a support person during meal times.
  3. Have a holiday coping plan. Plan out your “fear” foods (ones that make you feel stressed and anxious) and favorite foods, and then give yourself permission to eat them.
  4. Remind yourself that food provides nutrient value. Holiday foods connect us with culture, heritage, loved ones and traditions. Holiday foods are not considered “unhealthy”.
  5. Give yourself permission to feel satisfaction from eating.
  6. Set healthy boundaries. Choosing not to engage in diet talk or leaving a family function early are important ways to manage food anxiety.
  7. Practice self-care. Whether it is cuddling your pet, connecting with loved ones, or just taking time for yourself. Self-care is beneficial to your overall health.
  8. Take one day at a time. Make short term goals, which are easier to achieve and which will boost your overall mood, in order to make the most of gathering with loved ones.

By learning to understand and recognize the signs of an eating disorder, you can help the people in your life who are struggling.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York and New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source:

https://news.llu.edu/health-wellness/tips-and-tools-for-handling-eating-disorders-around-holidays

Eating Disorders Part 4: Eating Disorders among Asian- American Women

By: Abby Erasmus

Unique cultural values and experiences of Asian Americans can lead to the development of an eating disorder for individuals in the community. Similar to Western culture, Asian American (AA) culture idealizes the thin body and individuals face scrutiny from family members if they don’t meet this ideal; paradoxically, food is said to be the love language of Asian culture. Many AAs report being “force fed” by the same family members who criticize their weight. This creates pressure and anxiety around food, and due to this paradox, the complex relationship between food, love, and weight, bulimia nervosa (BN) tends to be the most pervasive ED in the AA community. Furthermore, AAs have to go through the process of acculturation: they must adapt to the practices and values of the dominant culture while maintaining their own. This can result in acculturative stress which is a positive predictor of disordered eating. In turn, research shows that AA college students report higher rates of restrictive eating, purging, and muscle building in comparison to their white counterparts. Also, second generation AA women report more ED behaviors than first and third generation women. This gives us insight into who is more likely to be affected within the community and what the ED behaviors are.

Different cultural values in the AA community such as interdependency, a complete reliance on the family for help rather than a stranger (therapist), and stigma surrounding mental health in general, contribute to the lack of help seeking. Further, some mental health providers are unable to recognize ED- like behaviors in the AA community as they are an under researched group when it comes to this pathology; lack of diagnosis and treatment can thus lead to poor prognosis. Once EDs are officially seen as a disorder that affects all ethnic and demographic groups at similar rates, stigma can be lessened and providers will recognize ED symptoms in this community. Again, cultural competency must be encouraged. Providers should understand the unique stressors AAs face like acculturative stress, as well as the complex relationship between food, showing love, and the idealization of the thin body. Although anorexia nervosa is prominent in the AA community, BN and binge- eating behaviors are the most common in the community; 1.50% are diagnosed with BN and 4.74% experience binge eating behaviors (See Eating Disorders Part 1 for DSM definitions). Once providers are more familiar with BED and BN, as well as the unique factors AAs face, they will be able to have culturally appropriate treatment for AAs with EDs.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources

https://www.eater.com/2019/11/19/20955556/my-discomfort-with-comfort-food

https://centerfordiscovery.com/blog/eating-disorders-and-the-api-community/

https://www.medainc.org/eating-disorders-in-the-asian-american-community-a-call-for-cultural-consciousness/

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/anorexia-for-an-asian-american-a-recovery-story

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01950/full

https://anad.org/get-informed/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2014.6b4

Eating Disorders Part 3: Eating Disorders in the LGBTQ Community

Members of the LGBTQ community experience an array of challenges that pose as risk factors in developing an eating disorder. Many members of the community experience fear of rejection from individuals they are close with and those outside their immediate circle; they often experience verbal or non- verbal violence, PTSD, discrimination, inability to meet the body image ideals within some LGBTQ contexts, internalized homophobia or transphobia, and more. These negative experiences can lead to depression or anxiety, which in turn can result in unhealthy coping mechanisms like an eating disorder. Past research indicates that about 54% of LGBT adolescents have been diagnosed with a full blown eating disorder (ED), and an additional 21% of LGBT adolescents reported they suspected having had an ED at some point in their lives. Further, about 61% of LGBT adolescents in one study reported that they had engaged in at least one disordered eating behavior in the past year. These statistics emphasize the importance of learning about the diverse, root causes of EDs within the community and how they manifest.

EDs manifest differently in the sub- groups of the LGBTQ community, and are experienced at higher rates compared to their straight or cis- gendered counterparts. In one study, adult and adolescent lesbians reported more binge eating, purging, and laxative use than their heterosexual counterparts, as well as the highest rate of binge- eating compared to any other sexual orientation. Lesbian women also report the highest rates of weight- based self- worth, while bisexual women have been found to report the highest levels of eating pathology compared to lesbian and gay men. Further, gay men report a higher likelihood of engaging in exercise with the intention of losing weight, restrictive eating, fasting, bingeing, purging, and diet pill use compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Lastly, transgender and gender- nonconforming youth seem to be at particular risk for developing an ED; this is due to all risk factors mentioned above, as well as conflicting gender identity and being dissatisfied with their body.

Despite these findings and the clear prevalence rate of such pathology within the community, and increased rates in relation to their straight/ cis- gendered counterparts, many members do not seek help. Many LGBTQ individuals fear their therapist or doctor won’t understand the unique problems within their community. In order to increase rates of treatment, we need to strive for cultural competency in which providers understand the unique experiences of LGBTQ individuals that can lead to EDs, and what EDs look like within the subgroups of the community.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://jeatdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40337-020-00327-y

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/lgbtq

https://jeatdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40337-020-00327-y

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/eat.23257

Eating Disorders Part 2: Black Women with Eating Disorders

By: Abby Erasmus

Black women in America have a unique experience; their intersecting identities make them one of the most discriminated- against groups in America, resulting in mental health issues. Eating disorders (ED), for example, are not new within the Black community. Black women live with EDs at similar rates to all ethnic and demographic groups- but often times in the shadows. The majority of ED studies focus on white women. This ignores the fact that ED causes and manifestation can be different in other populations. Further, the most commonly researched ED is Anorexia Nervosa (AN), yet AN is not the typical ED experience of Black women. Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Bulimia nervosa (BN) are the most common EDs among Black women, with Black girls being 50 times more likely to engage in BN behaviors than white girls. Because BED and BN aren’t frequently researched, they’re harder to correctly diagnose in patients; it is thus highly unlikely Black women will be diagnosed with an ED at all. To increase the likelihood that Black women will be correctly diagnosed and receive treatment, it is important to know the key symptoms of BED and BN. Listed here are some key symptoms:

BED: Recurrent, persistent episodes of binge eating & absence of compensatory behaviors like purging. The binge eating episodes are associated with 3 or more of the following: eating more rapidly than normal, eating until uncomfortably full, eating large amounts when not physically hungry, eating alone due to embarrassment of how much one is eating, feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or guilty after overeating.

BN: Recurrent episodes of binging that are characterized by eating an amount of food within a 2- hour period that is definitively larger than what most people eat in that time period, accompanied by feeling unable to stop eating/ control the amount one is eating & recurrent compensatory behaviors like: self- induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, excessive exercise, and more.

Additionally, stigma exists in the Black community in regard to receiving help due to complex stereotypes, histories, etc., and stigma in regard to EDs is dramatized as they are labeled a white woman’s problem. Once we call attention to ED prevalence and manifestation in the community, stigma will be reduced both within and outside of the community. This will then increase the likelihood that Black woman will receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for their ED. Further, when providers are made aware of the daily micro and macro aggressions that can result in poor mental health and potentially maladaptive coping mechanisms like an ED, providers will be prepared to address such issues during sessions. The nuanced narrative of EDs within the Black community must be disseminated.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder,  please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/new-dsm-5-binge-eating-disorder

https://www.centralcoasttreatmentcenter.com/blog-1/invisibility-of-eating-disorders-in-the-black-community-its-more-than-the-eating-disorder-stereotype

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519712/table/ch3.t16/

Beyond “Eating Disorders Don’t Discriminate”

Eating Disorders: Prevalence in College Students

Anyone can develop an eating disorder, no matter their gender, sexuality, age, or economic status. However, recent studies have shown a surge in occurrences of eating disorders among college students for both men and women. A 2011 study showed that occurrences of eating disorders specifically on college campuses increased from 7.9% to 25% in men, and 23.4% to 32.6% in women over the course of a 13 year period. While there are approximately 30 million people who struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their life, why is it so prevalent among college students?

When entering college, young adults are suddenly being faced with multiple issues that they have never had to face before. They have a new schedule, intense workloads, stress about making friends and getting good grades, as well as a new sense of freedom that they have probably never had until that moment. College life for most students is typically drastically less structured than life at home. In addition to these factors, most public media pushes a thin or slim ideal body type. Typical eating habits of college students also make it difficult for someone with an eating disorder to eat normally. Poor cafeteria food or access to lots of junk food makes it hard for students to maintain normal eating habits. Often times, the new stressors of college will re-surface pre-existing mental illnesses, or even cause new ones to emerge. When all of these factors combine with anxiety and self-esteem issues, it is highly likely that an individual will develop an unhealthy obsession with eating and body weight in an attempt to feel control in a stressful environment.

When someone is diagnosed with an eating disorder, it is important that their family and loved ones support them during this time. Eating disorders are dangerous and deadly; but there are ways to recover. There are specialized treatment centers for eating disorders, as well as the hotline at the National Eating Disorders Association (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support/contact-helpline). If someone is developing an eating disorder, it is very beneficial for them to seek therapy as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10640266.2011.584805

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/eating-disorders-on-college-campuses-are-on-the-rise#Eating-disorders-on-the-rise

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Image Source: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/health-science/coronavirus/2020/12/17/387599/for-those-with-eating-disorders-holidays-in-a-pandemic-can-create-extra-anxiety/