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Manorexia: an eating disorder that affects men

Manorexia can be understood as an eating disorder similar to anorexia, but suffered especially by men.

Anorexia is an eating disorder (ED) that, in general, mainly affects young women, although it can also appear in men and in different age ranges. So, Manorexia is a neologism used to talk about anorexia suffered by men. or the male expression of anorexia.

Manorexia is considered an unspecified eating disorder and its name is largely due to the fact that gender stereotypes have made us think that anorexia is a disease exclusive to women.

Some specialists believe that it is unnecessary to create new names to differentiate the characteristics of a disorder based on gender. However, manorexia It is a term that has become popular in recent years and allows us to understand the particularities of male anorexia.

In this article we will learn about the causes and possible origins of cases of manorexia, its most relevant characteristics and the importance of its therapeutic approach.

What are the causes of manorexia?

First of all, Social pressure to have a body that fits into hegemonic beauty standards is a recurring cause. in cases of manorexia. Advertising, the media and, above all, social networks have generated a series of aspirational models that influence the self-esteem of younger people.

These models often influence the construction of our body image and our adoption of lifestyles. Consequently, constant exposure to these standardized beauty patterns can make us vulnerable to this type of eating disorders.

In the particular case of manorexia, Dominant masculinity models, which tend to emphasize traits such as physical strength, agility and competitiveness, may be behind the origin of the disorder. This is taking into account that the characteristic pattern of manorexia is not extreme thinness, but rather the cultivation of a thin yet athletic figure through the obsessive combination of dietary restrictions and excessive exercise.

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Finally, some factors that may be associated with the appearance of manorexia are exposure to a traumatic event, episodes of school failure or bullying linked to corporality. Additionally, the lack of parental concern and the little attention paid to children’s nutrition can be elements that aggravate the situation.

Characteristics of manorexia

Generally, Those who suffer from manorexia are men, particularly young men, who are afraid of gaining weight. With that idea in mind, they engage in excessive physical activity and follow eating patterns that can become dangerously restrictive.

Some characteristics of manorexia are the following:

Food restrictions

Men suffering from manorexia They tend to progressively lose their appetite and follow very restrictive diets. In addition to this, it is possible that they consume laxatives and different types of supplements conventionally used to lose weight.

Excessive physical activity

Maybe the most common trait is excessive physical exercise, both in number of hours and in the effort made. They especially tend to prioritize cardiovascular exercises to burn body fat.

Body image distortion

Similarly, another characteristic sign of this type of eating disorders is the distorted perception of body image. That is, a man with manorexia can see himself in the mirror as if he were one size larger than his actual size.

Chronic fatigue and general physical discomfort

Manorexia usually brings with it physical discomforts such as permanent fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, thermal sensation of cold, hair loss and dental problems.

Psychosocial consequences

Finally, disorders like this negatively affect self-esteem and can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Added to this, feelings of low self-worth and emotional disorders may arise that lead to social isolation and the deterioration of family and social relationships.

The importance of seeking help

To begin with, it is important to note that In many cases, men with eating disorders do not usually seek help. This is because there are stigmas associated with the fact that these are considered women’s diseases. In this way, the first step will be to recognize that you have a problem and that it can be resolved with appropriate professional help.

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The treatment for manorexia gains in quality when it is designed from an interdisciplinary perspective. On the one hand, psychological therapy will help identify the origin of the thoughts that underlie the disorder, for example, that thinness is synonymous with beauty or that beauty is synonymous with social success.

In addition to this, the participation of a nutritionist will be essential, who will have the mission of designing a healthy diet and, of course, medical follow-up to evaluate the general state of health and progress.

In addition, family support is essential to generate better eating habits, strengthen self-image and progressively overcome this disorder.

In closing, perhaps it is worth all of us reflecting on the way in which we daily reinforce the association between thinness and beauty. We can begin to generate different ways of perceiving our bodies, stop making unnecessary comments about other people’s bodies and be kinder to the image we receive from the mirror.

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All cited sources were reviewed in depth by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, validity and validity. The bibliography in this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

Toro-Alfonso, J., & Nieves Lugo, K., & Borrero Bracero, N. (2010). Body and Masculinity: Eating Disorders in Men. Revista Interamericana de Psicología/Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 44(2),225-234.. ISSN: 0034-9690. Available at: https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=28420641003Vandereycken, W. (2011) Media Hype, Diagnostic Fad or Genuine Disorder? Professionals’ Opinions About Night Eating Syndrome, Orthorexia, Muscle Dysmorphia, and Emetophobia, Eating Disorders, 19:2, 145-155, DOI: 10.1080/10640266.2011.551634

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