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Binge eating and vigorexia, eating disorders in men

Fussiness and vigorexia are the Eating Behavior Disorders (ED) that most affect adolescent males, in which the incidence has increased despite the fact that these are behaviors normally associated with young women.

Although the eating disorders have always been associated more frequently with women, in the International Day of the fight against ACT it is emphasized that this type of disorder also affects adolescent males.

The TCA are characterized by a change in eating habits and intake resulting from different physical and psychosocial factors. People suffering from any disorder show a pathological preoccupation with food and weight.

Specifically, the 70% adolescents do not feel at ease with their bodies as indicated by the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG)).

Among the most common eating disorders is the anorexia nervosathe bulimia nervosathe seizure disorder i other disorders of the feed not specified.

Among the eating disorders that most affect young men are binge eating and binge eating, explains EFEsalut doctor Ignacio Basurte Villamor, psychiatrist and medical director of the López Ibor Clinic.

TCA among the most frequent chronic diseases

The experts from the ED Unit at the López Ibor Clinic point out that eating disorders are among the three chronic diseases more frequent in teenagers.

And it is that, according to the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition (SEEN)ACTs represent the psychiatric pathology with the highest mortality rate, being up to eight times higher than that of healthy people of the same age group and chronicling up to a 25% of chaos

In addition, following the confinement due to the coronavirus pandemic, the figures have increased by 20% according to the Centa Institute.

Prevalence of TCAs

The figures indicate that the increase was particularly prominent in girls and female adolescents aged between 10 and 19, which warns of the early onset of the problem.

However, “although due to social constructs and the role of women eating disorders occur more in adolescent girls than in boys, it is not necessary to leave aside the alert in men, since it is increasing the incidence”, he points out Estrella González, psychologist at the López Ibor Clinic.

He points out that for men, “the most common warning signs are protein-based diets, excessive physical exercise or preoccupation with bodybuilding.”

For Dr. Basurte, vigorexia affects a “profile of people who are excessively concerned about image and self-care”.

“No matter how much they look at each other, they perceive each other with a distortion of the body image”, he says.

Eating disorders barons social networks
EFE/ Koen Van Weel

Warning signs

This type of disorder does not appear due to a single specific cause, TCAs are a group of multi-causal and complex psychopathologies and there are several factors involved in their etiology, such as biological, genetic or environmental factors combined with a triggering event. Therefore, it is necessary to approach them from a multidisciplinary approach”, explain the experts from the López Ibor centre.

In order to take into account the warning signs in this type of disorder, experts point out:

  • Skip meals.
  • Self-prohibition of the intake of certain foods.
  • hide food.
  • Cooking large amounts of food for others but eating little or nothing yourself.
  • Feeling uncomfortable or refusing to eat in public places.
  • Complaining about being overweight despite having a normal weight.
  • pbe repeatedly or continuously look in the mirror.

Psychiatrist Ignacio Basurte explains how often it is difficult to identify this problem.

In the case of people who do not feel at ease with their body image and weight, and who begin to develop behaviors to reduce it such as diets or continued exercise, the problem is easier to recognize, since the loss of considerable weight sets off alarms.

However, when the person has a “normal weight”, that is to say, that is within what is established as normal, this type of behavior is more complicated to detect.

How do social networks impact?

the Social Networks they become a particularly dangerous scenario for the most vulnerable people, such as teenagers who spend the most time on them.

“These days all teenagers have social networks because, among other reasons, they help them feel part of a group and connecting with feelings of belonging at this age is essential. The need for recognition and acceptance specific to this stage of the life cycle is compromised by these new forms of communication, which start from a model of perfection and superficiality that is not at all healthy for the development of young people”, he says Adriana Esteban, psychologist specializing in TCA at the Centa Institute.

The excessive consumption of social networks can increase the risk of suffering from an OCD, since the lifestyles and the canons of beauty that are disseminated, encourage the obsession with one’s image and the development of complexes.

How can we act?

Regarding social networks, specialist Adriana Esteban explains the need to put certain skills into practice: develop a critical sense (be aware that this is a form of superficial socialization), clean up accounts that promote toxic habits, decrease the time takeni analyze our emotions.

On the other hand, Dr. Basurte points to the importance of early detection to achieve a better prognosis, so when in doubt, he insists that it is best to consult a specialist.

He also adds that “many times patterns are culturally established that are normalized in certain environments, whether they are schools or friendships”.

“These are phrases that somehow generate or romanticize TCA and are not appropriate,” he continues.

However, SEEN estimates that around one 70-80% of patients manage to overcome the disease.

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