Tuesday, 22 January 2013

'Gendered ED'?

Most people, when thinking or hearing about ED, think of a thin, pale-looking girl who starves herself.

But research is showing that more and more males are presenting with ED. This caught my attention for so many reasons.
http://www.cmaj.ca/site/earlyreleases/14jan13_gender-perceptions-on-eating-disorders-slow-to-change.xhtml

First, it shows that ED is on the rise. EDs are common all over the world - not just in places like Canada, USA, or Europe. They are present in Africa, Australia, etc. So, it is not an illness of the 'westernized' areas. It happens to anyone, of any culture. This is a problem that we need to address - if ED is becoming more prevalent, we need to find ways to educate people about ED 'prevention' or what to watch out for. We need to educate people about what to do if you suspect someone has an eating disorder, the types of treatment available, and the urgency that must be given to this problem.

Second - and what is really the issue - is that ED happens in boys, too. We do not really think of this, but it is sadly the truth. We may not think that boys are affected because we do not often think of males trying to lose weight to please others or what not. But, males are the target of body image commericials as well. They are constantly showed as having big muscles, no fat, and being built. This clearly affects males of all ages because they feel that they need to live up to this ideal.

And males are also shown as not showing any of their feelings. Males, in today's society, are not encouarged to share what they are going through. So, a boy who does not call himself 'fat' in front of his friends is not doing anything weird - he is being a 'guy'. But inside, this guy might hate his body. He may be starving himself to become thin. He may wish that he was like all the other guys with muscles. This may very well be ED in progress.

What is more, we often stereotype that ED targets females ONLY. While it is more COMMON in females, it does not mean that it cannot affect males. And studies are showing us that this is actually the case - 1 in 3 cases of EDs will now be in males. This is scary. It means that males are shwoing more signs and symptoms of ED. And the problem is, they are not finding the help and support they need to overcome this. People may not label a male as having ED because they think he is just 'being a guy' or because ED is a 'girl thing'. This poor man or boy might struggle with ED for so long before anyone finds out. Or it might be too late.

We need to start looking at ED as an illness. That is all. It is an disease, like any other, that affects ALL people - male and female. As a result, we need to get past the fact that males cannot present with ED. It is this idea that stops males from getting the help they need. We need to realize that these ideas can prohibit males from getting the help they need and recovering.

And to those males who have ED, we need to stop the stigma. A male who has ED is no less of a 'man' because he has ED. He is a victim, like everyone else. so he deserves to be treated with care, to get help, and to defeat ED.

It is time that we break down the stigma against people with ED. Whether male or female, ED is a life-threatening illness. It needs to be addressed, and the patient needs to get help. I hope as time goes on, we will all start to realize that society influences our ideas about many things, ED being one of them. 'Men don't get ED' is a false, false statement. They may get it LESS often than females, but the rates are climbing. This is a cause of concern. I pray that we can get our acts together and start helping ALL victims with ED. Because no matter who has ED, it is an illness.

14 comments:

  1. Marina
    You hit the nail on the head
    As you said before ED does not discriminate ,it can hit boys ,girls,old and young ,black and white ,native or,Hispanic .
    The bottom line that you clearly identify as a trigger for ED to start off is WHEN SOME BODY DOES NOT LIKE HIS OR HER OWN BODY(DISTORTED IMAGE)
    tHEN THE SLPPERY SLOPE BEGIN.

    Hopefully We can help others how to love their bodies and love themselves for who they are .
    We are God created and We need to love what God has given us as a gift.

    Wonderful blog
    With my humble respect
    Mohammed

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am a young man and I am really hit hard with ED and I am suffering as you suffer even I am going to day out patient program .You are right the disease started when I was 15 and once one guy used to be a friend of mine told me ,you have breasts like girls and since then I did not like my body and the disease took me to its worst and I lost my school year .
    Now I leart a very serious lesson , .No way I beleive other negative comments.No way I do not love and respect my self.
    I will speak to my friends about loving their bodies the way they are to prevent this enegma from hitting them.

    Eric

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree with M and M .Having self confidenec about our selves and loving our bodies is the only guarantee to live healthy and prevent ED.
    Please continue your reflections and appraisal of what can We do to prevent the disease which is more common than We thought.

    Sally

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know a friend who has been in and out of inpatient program and he tells me he wishes he has supportive family to motivate him to work on loving his body and get over that illness.He admits even he feels able to change eating habits but needs the support that hels him to continue.I wish I can give him enough support.I passed on your blog to him

    Carlos

    ReplyDelete
  5. Despite the numbers of boys affected by ED are only half of girls but from my experience boys suffer more and diagnosed late and treated late .
    Raising awareness and prevention of the disease is the most important point so at least teenager do not have to suffer

    ReplyDelete
  6. I admire you as being now taking on responsibility for educating others about this serious disease and being role model in maintaing your recovery,showing others that ED can be conquered and showing them living healthy happy life.You sending an important message to all ED victims and their families.
    ED victims can be boys or girls,does not matter as you said ED does not discriminate.

    Penny
    Medical student

    ReplyDelete
  7. Let me add my support to all of you to raise awarness to this illness.I am thinking of few of my friends whom I used to know and I can recall they had symtoms similar to what you describing as ED in your blog.I have never thought they had ED but I could tell they have some sort of sickness.

    I will raise awarness my self now I have some knowledge
    Thanks to Marina

    Jack

    ReplyDelete
  8. I know many boys have the ED and they do not admit even more secritive than girls .
    Raising awareness as Marina said is the best guarantee to prevent the disease.
    The point I can tell from my experience and recovery is the disease can easily be prevented and also relapse can be avoided if just raise awareness of the majority of us so we can close the gap on ED .You know Marina Ed can creep like a snake .
    You Marina making a good point as always .We should address this disease and look at it not a women only disease

    Recovered ED victim

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wonderful blog and appropriate to the point comments.
    Keep up the excellent job Marina

    Hend

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have a question to you Marina
    Can you tell us if any difference in how to prevent ED between boys and girls and if there is a difference in treating ED between both genders.

    Hesham

    ReplyDelete
  11. Boys and girls ,prevention and treatment is same .

    ReplyDelete
  12. Even I do not have any boys or brothers and I have one daughter and one sister but We all need to be aware that ED can inflict boys too.I almost lost my daughter without even being aware what was going on till Marina blog came to me in no where and opened my eye.
    I hope We all be aware of Ed and prevent it esepcailly among the hype of weight loss ads
    I hope you keep up with all the demands around you Marina.
    God bless you my dear

    The thankful mother

    ReplyDelete
  13. A lot of people want to thank you for your persevernce,honesty and altruism but only only few of them take the time to drop a line as this thankful mother.
    I would like thank both of you for your loving caring hearts.

    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am 75 years young and I can remember few men had complains and they looked like what you are explaining as ED .
    So you are right the disease does not discriminate (people do).
    I thank you for your open mind and wise blog and good intention to help other and to shed the light on a dark spot in medicine that very few know about.
    Have a happy week end.

    S Ibrahim
    Burnhamthorpe ,Mississauga

    ReplyDelete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.