It is not common for men to develop an eating disorder but it does happen. If you are concerned about a man in your family who may be exhibiting symptoms of anorexia or bulimia, then here are some steps that can help.
You may have noticed that your husband has been shying away from family meals or excessively exercising. He may be experiencing rapid weight loss, depression or acting moody.
These signs may point to the fact that he is suffering from an eating disorder, such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder.
While women make up the majority of the nearly 8 million people who have an eating disorder, men represent 10 percent of that number. If you’ve watched your husband develop an unhealthy relationship with food and other symptoms of an eating disorder, it may be time to get him some help.
The symptoms of an eating disorder can be devastating. Eating disorders can lead to heart disease, malnutrition, dehydration and, in severe cases, even death.
It can be hard to stand by and watch someone you love cause themselves harm. But you don’t have to do it anymore. Here are four things you can do to help your husband end his eating disorder and have a successful long-term recovery:
1. Know the Facts
For many men, it is difficult to admit that they do actually have an eating disorder. They may still see it as a “women’s disease” that they couldn’t possibly get. Before you talk to your spouse about your concerns, do your research. Find out the symptoms of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder, as well as side effects and treatment options. Showing your husband the facts may help him accept that he does have a problem.
2. Provide Support
Let your husband know that he has nothing to be embarrassed about and that you will be there to help him recover from his eating disorder. Eating disorders often develop due to underlying emotional issues or trauma, so let him know that you are there to listen to his problems and help him work through them.
3. Have Patience
It can take anybody a while to admit that they have something like an eating disorder. Even if you discuss your concerns with your spouse, it may take him some time to come to the realization that he has an eating disorder and be willing to accept treatment.
4. Get Help
Overcoming an eating disorder requires professional treatment. That can be through a therapist who specializes in eating disorders, outpatient therapy or a residential treatment center for eating disorders. The symptoms of an eating disorder are unlikely to go away on their own, and your spouse will need to seek treatment for both his eating disorder and any underlying issues. Treatment may also involve couples or family therapy, which will allow you to discuss how the disorder has impacted your relationship.
It may take some time, but know that your husband’s eating disorder is treatable. Many residential treatment facilities offer treatment specifically for men with eating disorders, so find the one that will be the most effective. With the right type of treatment, your husband can successfully recover from his eating disorder and get back to a healthy relationship with food, and with you.