Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) February 18, 2009
As National Eating Disorders Awareness Week approaches, 2009 brings yet another year of unhealthy weight loss resolutions and body image issues for millions of Americans, including men and boys.
"Educating the public and healthcare professionals about males and eating disorders is so important because hundreds of thousands of males suffer from these disorders and very few professionals would even consider an eating disorder as a diagnosis for a male," said eating disorder expert, Sam Lample, assistant clinical director of ReddStone, a Remuda Ranch Program for Boys. (http://www.remudaranch.com/reddstone/index.php)
From a sociological perspective, the male body has become a major marketing tool and images of the male body have become hyper-sexualized, much like with the female body. This has resulted in males beginning to scrutinize their own external beauty as females have done for decades.
"There is evidence that the more a man or boy adheres to typical male stereotypes the more psychological illnesses these men and boys will develop," adds Lample. "Hypersensitive boys who lack coping skills and who know they are different from the stereotype sometimes feel tremendous shame which can lead to an eating disorder."
The mission of NEDAW is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses, not choices. It's important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape these disorders.
"There is a real stigma associated with males and eating disorders," said Lample. "The diagnostic criteria for eating disorders are considered gender biased and eating disorders in boys and men are often ruled out even when they are clearly present because professionals think that eating disorders only affect females."
The shame attached to eating disorders is bad enough for many women, but for males it's infinitely more embarrassing to have a "woman's problem". Therefore, many males will often go to a professional for some other reason, like depression, anxiety or anger, but they may not disclose their eating disorder symptoms.
"We need to be proactive and treat the illness right the first time so we can decrease the long term costs associated with multiple, ongoing relapses," adds Lample.
For more information on males and eating disorders, visit http://www.remudaranch.com.
About Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders
Remuda Ranch offers Christian inpatient and residential programs for individuals of all faiths suffering from eating or anxiety disorders. Each patient is treated by a multi-disciplinary team including a Psychiatric and a Primary Care Provider, Registered Dietitian, Masters Level therapist, Psychologist and Registered Nurse. The professional staff equips each patient with the right tools to live a healthy, productive life. For more information, call 1-800-445-1900 or visit http://www.remudaranch.com.