What are the Signs of Bulimia in Males?

B. Miller

The signs of bulimia in males are, in many cases, similar to the signs of bulimia in females. This includes secretive eating habits, hoarding, and eating large amounts of food in a brief period of time, followed by purging, and potential abuse of laxatives or diuretics to speed the elimination of waste from the system. Pronounced weight changes are another one of the signs of bulimia in males, which often includes weight gain; bulimia is often seen in men who are required to have a certain appearance for work, or who become extremely fixated on getting bigger or more muscular. Of course, some males also use bulimia as a way to lose weight, so it is important not to generalize; body size is less important than eating habits when trying to determine if a male might be suffering from bulimia.

Depression, low self-esteem, and irritability may be signs of bulimia in males.
Depression, low self-esteem, and irritability may be signs of bulimia in males.

The binging and purging eating habits characteristic of those suffering from bulimia remain the most common signs of the illness in males and females. People suffering from bulimia will generally try to hide these habits from those around them, so it may involve hiding food in one's room or making excuses to visit the bathroom after eating a large meal. Unfortunately, males suffering from bulimia are also less likely to discuss the problem or seek help, because some associate the disease strictly with females, which is not the case. Bulimia in males is increasingly common.

Bulimia in males may present in other ways as well. Some men may become obsessed with working out, exercising for hours each day and eating an extremely limited diet. For instance, an individual may try to eliminate all sources of fat or sugar from the diet, or attempt to only eat one or two specific food sources, such as protein and vegetables. If he misses exercising for a day, he might use extremely negative self-talk to refer to himself.

These extreme exercise and eating habits may be accompanied by the use of diet pills, or the abuse of laxatives. An individual might also display extremely low self-esteem, as well as potential other issues such as hair loss or mood changes such as depression or irritability. These are the most common signs of bulimia in males, though other signs of an eating disorder or psychological issue may be present. There are many treatment options available for people suffering from an eating disorder, which may include individual psychotherapy or an in-patient treatment plan for a period of time.

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