National Eating Disorders Association
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Men

Chase Bannister is the founder, senior vice president and chief strategy & clinical integrity officer for Veritas Collaborative, a specialty hospital system for the treatment of eating disorders in a gender-diverse and inclusive environment. He is credentialed as a certified eating disorder specialist by the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals and is a licensed clinical social worker.

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The study and treatment of eating disorders is woefully lacking, especially for men. The majority of Americans think this is a woman’s disease, but statistics show that 10 million men in the United States will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. 

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True or false?: Males make up 1 in 10 of those with an eating disorder. Many say false, and think the number is even less. But it’s quite the opposite. Frustratingly, it’s the statistic most frequently quoted in the media. Why? Because this number represents the percentage of males seeking treatment.

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What up Bruh! If you are a man with an eating disorder and you are reading this, you are not alone. No really, 10 million of us actually. Most likely at some point I was over exercising next to you at the gym, or I was in line behind you at the grocery store buying my binge foods. I may have even compared my body to yours due to my poor body image. You probably walked past me when I was morbidly obese. Perhaps what I’m saying is making someone feel uncomfortable. Sorry….”Trigger Warning. These issues may cause discomfort. Please read at your own discretion.

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Struggling from an eating disorder is difficult enough without the stigma that it is a feminine disease. Being a male in the world of ED is difficult in different ways; from diagnosis to treatment. Before DSM-V, one of the ‘requirements’ of being diagnosed with anorexia was the absence of your menstrual period. This ‘requirement’ in itself was sexist and fell into the feminine stigma of EDs.

Today we are working on breaking the old view of eating disorders and having people understand the true nature of these diseases. 

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The first general session on the second day of the Conference – NEDA’s annual Family Panel – sent  a powerful and vital message to attendees: recovery is real and possible for everyone. The Family Panel included personal stories of overcoming and perseverance in the face of an eating disorder diagnosis, as well as touching stories from both a father and partner of individuals affected on what they have learned about supporting a loved one with an eating disorder. Here is an overview of this year’s panelists:

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A few months ago, my 19-year old happy, healthy, anorexia-free son handed me a “thank you” card. Inside, Ben had written that his eating disorder had been “a struggle fought together not against each other”. He wrote that I was “a shining example to the world that love can overcome anything” and that “we would not be here today in such a state of contentment” if it had not been for my “sheer strength of willpower and motherly love”. Finally he thanked me “for being the one that never gave up”.

Well, the floodgates opened and I wept buckets!

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