This morning while I saw an advertisement for something called, “Manly,” a photo editing app for men. This app claims to help users easily Photoshop their bodies to appear more, “manly.” According to the app, this means adding shredded six pack abs, enormous pectoral muscles, and huge biceps. There is also options to add tattoos and a tan.
Many people were frustrated with this app for a number of reasons. Starting off, the name of the app implies that there is a distinct way to be a “man.” It also insinuates that there is an ideal body type that someone HAS to have to be considered “manly.”
Secondly, the way that the app functions to create unrealistic expectations for the way men should conform their bodies can be quite problematic. Not everyone knows this app exists, and when young men look at the social media accounts of athletes, models, and famous influencers that they admire and look up to, they may be under the impression that the person’s body is naturally like that. As a result, many young men may go to extremes to try and attain this “manly” standard.
These extremes may include unhealthy exercise habits, drug abuse, and even eating disorders. Much of the general population has developed the deeply ingrained notion that having an eating disorder is a “female issue.” Unfortunate, this is false. According to the South Carolina Department of Health, an estimated one million men have eating disorders.
Luckily, doctors have developed many different forms of eating disorder treatment options for all types of people.
Types of eating disorders
There are tons and tons of different forms and types of eating disorders in the world. The most commonly found ones are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Both of these disorders are extremely harmful to not only the physical well-being of a patient, but to their mental health as well.
Anorexia nervosa means starving oneself. Those who are anorexic have a need to constantly lose weight and be as thin as possible. They could be suffering from body dysmorphic disorder, which is an obsession with the body and its apparent ‘flaws.’ Those who suffer from this can go to dangerous extremes to try and fix their apparent flaws.
Anorexia nervosa can lead to many physical ailments, illnesses, and injuries. It can lead to abnormal blood cell counts, hair loss, dry and yellow skin, constipation, dehydration, and an irregular heart rhythm. It can also cause a person to develop hair growth all over the body, a loss of menstruation, low blood pressure, swelling of the arms and legs, and osteoporosis.
Bulimia nervosa is an illness where a person will binge eat and then force themselves to get sick and throw it up. This process is referred to as “purging” and has many negative health effects. Throwing up causes the acid in your stomach to destroy your teeth and can lead to gum disease. They may become discolored and weak. The acid from your stomach can also severely tear or burst your esophagus, and if left untreated could lead to death.
Bulimia nervosa can also cause heart palpitations or irregularities, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn. Both anorexia and bulimia can cause a person to have loads of mental health issues as well such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and sometimes even suicidal thoughts or actions if their dangerous actions do not produce the intended result.
Eating disorder symptoms
There are many tell-tale signs that someone is suffering from an eating disorder. If they are repeatedly telling you each time you are around them during meals that they have “already eaten,” it may be a lie. They may be making this up to avoid having to eat a full meal in front of others. This is a clear sign of anorexia.
When a person has bulimia, they will often excuse themselves to the bathroom after eating. They may also binge eat foods, in large and excess amounts, and show no signs of weight gain. If you ever feel as though someone you know has an eating disorder, do not hesitate to reach your hand out to them.
Binge eating disorder treatment
When a person seeks treatment for an eating disorder, they will receive help from doctors of all sorts to help them deal with their deep rooted mental and emotional issues that may have caused the disorder. This could be in the form of therapy as well as other alternative forms of medicine such as meditation, acupuncture, and much more.
When a patient is recovering from a debilitating disease such as an eating disorder, they will need to take steps to improve their physical health as well. Having an eating disorder for a prolonged period of time can cause a patient to have extreme nutritional deficiencies. In order to counter act that, the patient may be given vitamins, medication, or be referred to a nutritional therapist.
A nutritionist is generally someone that will help a person get their diet on the right track. A nutritional therapist can work with someone who is trying to recover from an eating disorder to develop normal eating habits. They not only make sure they are getting a full serving of daily nutrients, they also help patients build a better relationship with food and lean how to function on their own as a healthy, well-balanced individual.
Every day we are seeing men and women of all ages go to extreme lengths to try and achieve the “ideal” body image. There are a lot of things that need to change to help improve the self-esteem of individuals, but a good start is to always remember that what you see on Instagram, probably isn’t real.