There is a silent epidemic affecting more than 30 million Americans, yet it seems like no one is talking about it: eating disorders.
According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), while 20 million of those affected are women, 10 million of those with an eating disorder are men. What’s more, 42 percent of these men who have eating disorders identify as gay.
Physical attractiveness is placed at a premium in today’s visual world. We are more valuable the better we look. Comparing ourselves with each other has become an integral part of our culture, and part of that process involves calculating our own value basing physical attractiveness as currency.
Dr. Tyler Wooten, Medical Director of Eating Recovery Center in Dallas, explains that members of the LGBT+ community are susceptible to social pressures because of their desire to be liked and accepted.
First impressions matter – a lot. It’s no wonder the LGBT+ community, which still experiences a lot of social judgement and negativity, is highly affected by the pressures of upkeeping vanity.
Eating disorders come in the form of anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorders. For men, these types of cases can lead to muscle loss, weakness and severe dehydration. But as pointed out by Eating Recovery Center, eating disorders can be classified beyond just a physical illness. Eating disorders are equally mental. An eating disorder can brainwash the individual into thinking it’s their identity to look a certain way. Dr. Wooten added.
With all the stigma surrounding eating disorders and mental illness, combined with the internal confusion of sense of self and identity that many gay men feel, treatment and support can often be delayed. However, treatment for eating disorders are ample and accessible so once acknowledged, there are many options for a path to recovery.
Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?
One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.
But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.