Are there any differences in the treatment a male patient should receive? Generally, the answer to this question is no. Men respond to the same types of interventions as do women, to the best of our knowledge. There is sometimes a perception that men who are affected have more severe illness. This is probably due to the fact that when large numbers of male patients are compared to female patients, there are no significant differences.
Clinicians will of course be aware that men and women are socialized differently in Western culture, and while the overall process of eating disorder cognitions is the same, the precise content may be slightly different. For example, men are more involved in competitive sports and thus will talk more about their concerns about athletic prowess.
It is important to remember that while rates of sexual abuse are lower in men than in women, that about 10% of men with an eating disorder reported a history of sexual abuse (Woodside et al., 2001). As is the case with women, such an occurrence may be an important factor in the etiology of the eating disorder.Summary
The occurrence of eating disorders in men appears to be more common in the community than had previously been thought. There are a number of factors that may keep men out of treatment, ranging from lack of self-identification to perceived stigma. Once in treatment, men appear to respond in much the same way as do women.