Eating Disorders Awareness Week is an international awareness event, fighting the myths and addressing the misconceptions that surround anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder (BED) and other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFEDs).
Facts about Eating Disorders:
- Approximately 1.25 Million people in the UK have an eating disorder*
- Around 25% of those are male*
- Recent research from the NHS information centre showed that up to 6.4% of adults displayed signs of an eating disorder*
This year’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week is all about men. We believe men account for around 1 in 4 people who develop an eating disorder. Yet in 2023, their symptoms can still go unnoticed by those around them. Many struggle to ask for help, and can be met with disbelief when they do. Toxic masculine stereotypes are pervasive, and can lead people to think that eating disorders “only affect women”. They also increase stigma around men asking for help, even when they may really need it.
It’s important to remember that eating disorders are not all about food itself, but about feelings. The way a person interacts with food may make them feel more able to cope with life generally, or may make them feel in control.
Eating disorders are notoriously prevalent among young people. Students are one of the most vulnerable categories. It’s not unusual for the difficult transition from home to university to have an effect on a young person’s sense of self and wellbeing. Sometimes, this can effect eating habits and self-esteem.
Someone may come to rely on certain eating habits and develop disordered thoughts around food. This may become a coping mechanism for managing the difficult emotions they are experiencing. This coping mechanism can develop into an eating disorder, which then begins to control the person to a point of dangerous consequences, both emotionally and physically.
The earlier the person receives support, the greater their chances of recovery.
Talking openly about this issue is so important – if you recognise disordered eating in yourself, know that you are not alone. Reach out for help – if you are a young person, or worried about a young person that you know, visit our Mental Health Support hub today.
*BEAT – Statistics for Journalists, sourced 02/02/2020