About Eating Disorders in Men

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When people think about eating disorders, they often picture the stereotype that they only happen to women. In fact, eating disorders in men are more common than you might think. Men can develop different kinds of eating disorders that start at different ages in their lives. Once someone has an eating disorder, it requires professional treatment from a program that specializes in treating them. Trellis Recovery Centers created a highly effective residential program that provides a multi-disciplinary approach that changes lives. Our staff understands how to care for people who have a complex mental health disorder and show them how to recover.

Statistics of Eating Disorders in Men 

Too often, when someone mentions eating disorders, people think they only happen to teenage girls and young women. Eating disorders in men happen at a higher rate than many people understand. Eating Disorder Hope reports the following eye-opening statistics:

  • One out of four people diagnosed with an eating disorder is male
  • 40% of people with binge eating disorders are male
  • 15% of gay and bisexual men deal with an eating disorder
  • At some point in their lives, about 10 million males will be impacted by an eating disorder
  • One out of three males has employed disordered eating behaviors to attempt to alter their weight
  • Males with eating disorders show a higher mortality risk than women

What Causes Eating Disorders in Men? 

Eating disorders in men can be caused by a variety of triggers. While men and women can be at risk for the same reasons, there are certain variables that apply to the male population. Men who are victims of physical or sexual violence or bullying often feel too afraid or ashamed to report these acts. Some begin to use unhealthy coping skills that come with eating disorders to try to achieve a feeling of control they don’t have. In this situation, a man might try to eat differently and bulk up to appear stronger or lose weight to try to “disappear” and feel less likely to be victimized again. 

Male-oriented sports can also cause an elevated risk of developing an eating disorder. Many male athletes are encouraged to eat from a limited list of types of food and to make sure they do not gain weight. In order to meet weight limits in some sports, the man may engage in purging any food consumed or exercise in extreme amounts. 

Members of the LGBTQ+ community have higher percentages of people with eating disorders than those outside of it. For many males, this means turning to an eating disorder to try to distract themselves from their emotions and experiences. LGBTQ+ youth with an eating disorder have nearly four times as high odds of attempting suicide

Man being treated at Trellis Recovery Centers eating disorders in men

What are the Types of Eating Disorders Men Usually Have? 

Men can have any one of the same types of eating disorders that women have. The types of eating disorders in men include the following:


Anorexia causes a person to have a distorted, inaccurate view of how their body looks. They become focused on achieving and maintaining a low body weight by using harmful weight loss measures.


Someone with bulimia engages in repeated episodes of binge eating a large amount of food quickly. Then, they try to compensate and avoid absorbing the calories by using methods such as vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics, or excessive exercising.

Binge Eating

When someone binge eats, they consume a large amount of food quickly and often to the point of feeling discomfort or pain. They typically do not engage in purging methods as people with bulimia do. They often feel great shame about the amount of food they eat.


Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) causes a person to avoid certain types of food, which limits what they consume. They often have an extreme sensitivity to certain qualities in food, including smell, taste, and texture.


Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) is the diagnosis used when someone does not meet all the criteria for other types of eating disorders. It can include subthreshold anorexia, atypical bulimia, and purging disorder.


People with Pica have the desire to eat non-typical substances such as dirt, paper, clay, and chalk. They may also feel a compulsion to eat dangerous items like paint chips, batteries, and more.

Types of Eating Disorder Treatment Available for Men 

Treatment for eating disorders in men can happen at two different levels of care. The first is a residential program in which the person moves into a facility for at least 30 days of round-the-clock treatment. Trellis Recovery Centers offers residential treatment from experienced staff members that include:

  • Therapists
  • Nurses (RN and LVN)
  • Psychiatrists
  • Mental Health Counselors
  • Registered Dietician
  • Chef


The other level of care is done on an outpatient basis. This allows the person to live in their homes and travel to a facility for treatment during the day. Generally, someone with an eating disorder begins treatment at a residential facility and then transitions into outpatient care for follow-up therapy sessions. Both levels of treatment involve attending a variety of talk and experiential therapies designed to minimize and eventually overcome eating disorder thoughts and behaviors.

Contact Our ED Treatment in Los Angeles at Trellis Recovery Centers

When someone develops an eating disorder, it impacts every area of their lives. The distraction of disordered thoughts, emotions, and behaviors makes it difficult to have healthy relationships and perform well at work or in school. Men are no exception because eating disorders do not discriminate when it comes to gender. Trellis Recovery Centers in Los Angeles, California employs a staff who uses their extensive experience to help people understand their illness and overcome it. 

Would you like to get more information about how to get started healing from your eating disorder? Contact us today and let us show you the path to healing and changing your life.