Men with eating disorders



Men with eating disorders

For too long, eating disorders have been known only as a 'girls disease', but men get them too - you just don't hear about it. Here's what you need to know.


How common are men with eating disorders?

The truth is, we're not sure. There aren't a lot of statistics as men don't tend to ask for help, but an estimated 10-15% of eating disorder sufferers are male.

"Male eating disorders absolutely do happen," says psychotherapist Andrea Scherzer. "But men are notorious for not asking for help ­­- even though many are out there suffering," she says. "They think an eating disorder is a female problem, so are often too embarrassed to open up."

Are male eating disorders different?

Whatever sex you are, eating disorders are a mental illness, developed as a way of feeling more in control of your life if other things aren't going well.

Men do suffer from well-known eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder, however a preoccupation with physique, like getting a six-pack to the point of being unhealthy, can be a problem for blokes too.

"What's more common in men is an obsession with muscle definition," says Andrea. "I don't want to generalise, but some of those perfect male models you see in health magazines with perfect abs will have eating disorders."

Surely wanting to keep fit and be healthy isn't an eating disorder?

In most cases, no, it isn't. Regularly going to the gym and wanting to stay muscly doesn't mean you're mentally unwell. However, if food, calories and working out becomes the focus of your thinking and starts to control your life, then you may need to ask yourself some questions.

"If a person's sole focus in life is on making your body perfect, so much so that it stops you doing other things, then you can be physically healthy but not very mentally healthy at all," says Andrea.

Worried about yourself? You could read our 'do I have an eating disorder?' article to help work out what's going on in your head.

How can I get help?

If you don't want your life to be like this anymore, don't be afraid to ask for the support you deserve. Don't think that because you're a guy you won't be taken seriously. Talking to someone you trust is a good first step.

In terms of treatment, you ideally need to see your GP, as they can help you access relevant treatment. If you're not keen on the idea, you can seek help privately, but it will be quite pricey.

If you don't quite feel you're able to open up face to face to anyone yet, the Beat website is a good place to check out. They have loads of support articles, advice on internet eating disorder treatments, and message boards so you can chat anonymously about what's going on.


View as PDF


The Have I Got A Problem website is a free online resource to help people better understand any issues or concerns they may have about mental health or addiction. The website includes resources specifically focused to; general Mental Health, Depression, Stress, Anxiety, Insecurities, Self-harm Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Anger Management, Eating Disorders, Coping, general Addiction, Alcohol, Smoking, Gambling, Drugs, Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana (Cannabis) Ecstasy, PCP, Mephedrone, Ketamine & Crystal Meth.

The site was created to give the public information to help them understand mental health and addiction issues and to assist people in making better informed decisions about their life and personal choices. was created and is run by 'Advising Communities’, which is a UK registered charity (Charity No. 1061055)


"The secret of health for both the body and mind is not to mourn the past, or worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly."


MoreSend us your Quotes

Tips & Hints

  • Eat Meals with Family or Friends

    A person who is anxious about eating will feel more comfortable doing so among other people they trust, such as family or friends. This...
  • Keep a Food Diary

    Keep a food diary of what you eat and when you eat it to help you focus on eating regularly. Also record any episodes of going without ...
  • Take Regular Exercise

    Studies have shown exercise to have a positive effect on low self-esteem and poor body image, which are widely cited as being contribut...
  • Be Patient

    Unhealthy relationships with food do not develop overnight, and it can take many months and even years to regain full control over your...
  • Eat Healthy Foods

    The types of foods we eat are important. We all like to indulge in our favourite foods every once in a while, but we should also eat as...
  • More Tips & Hints