We all hear of women suffering from eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia or binge eating but not too many are aware that this is a problem affecting many men too.
One of the UK’s leading treatment centres for eating disorders says men are being put at risk because too often people think the condition only affects women, reports the BBC.
Medical experts like the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) agree, telling BBC’s Newsbeat it is a ‘taboo subject’ for men. But research suggests one in four people with an eating disorder is male.
Conditions like anorexia and bulimia can cause physical and psychological damage and, in some cases, even death.
“It’s incredibly difficult having an eating disorder but if you are a boy it can be doubly difficult,” psychiatrist Dr Darren Cutinha from the Royal Free Hospital in London, said. “Boys require almost additional support to make sure they can recover.”
Dr Clare Taylor from the RCGP said: “We need to make sure boys and girls are made aware of eating disorders from school, that schools and teachers can be aware of the warning signs. Equally employers need to be aware. We are talking about young people with their whole lives ahead of them and as a society we need to find and treat them as soon as we can.”
While it is recommended that severe eating disorders are treated by a GP, clinical hypnotherapy can also help people with disorders.
The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) has qualified and highly-trained therapists across the UK who can help people deal with the emotional aspect of the disorder and help change any negative unwanted habits which may reside in the sub conscious mind.
These unwanted behaviour patterns are created unwittingly and often turn into a vicious cycle which can be hard to alter or reverse without a change in thinking or a change in a person’s attitude.
“It is interesting to look at the relationship between the gut and the brain as they are more strongly linked than we realise,” says the NCH. “Good nutrition is vitally important to maintaining a health brain as the brain consumes 25% of the body’s nutrients so any drop in this area can have a huge effect. The gut has 100 million neurons and makes a huge number of neurotransmitters which are essential for good mental health.
“The most commonly know of these is Serotonin and the gut makes 95% of this. The stomach is often referred to as ‘the second brain’ and when the relationship between these two brains is out of sync then one will affect the other. It can sometimes be a case of which came first, the unhealthy thinking or the unhealthy eating.”
This is where a trained hypnotherapist can help because working both with a person’s thoughts and their nutrition at the same time can aid treatment enormously and lead to long-term success.
The therapist can also help the sufferer (who, for instance, while thin might think they are overweight or ugly) develop a positive self image. By helping with self-esteem, confidence or emotional control issues the hypnotherapist can help with the underlying causes of the eating disorder.
Hypnotherapy can also alter compulsive thoughts and impulses that have become obsessive and destructive, and steer them in a more positive direction.
There is, however, no general rule which makes it possible to say how much improvement can be achieved and in how much time when being treated by a hypnotherapist. The issues surrounding eating disorders can be complex and may need time to resolve fully.
It is recommended that a person with an eating disorder who is seeing their GP about the problem should let the doctor know if they intend to look at clinical hypnotherapy as a treatment.
When starting hypnotherapy, the therapist may look into the history of each case and, with some conditions liked eating disorders, might ask for permission to contact the GP. It is important that anyone seeking help via a hypnotherapist seeks a fully qualified therapist and researches their ability to work in this area.
During hypnotherapy sessions, the therapist will work with the sub conscious mind in a relaxed, induced trance-like state to alter unwanted learned behaviours in line with the goals set as to how the individual wants to feel at the end of the sessions.
In a world which puts a lot of effort into photo-shopping fashion images for media scrutiny and their use in adverts, it is no surprise the body conscious male has started to appear alongside the body conscious female.
If you are worried about an eating disorder contact an NCH-registered therapist near you by using the organisation’s directory. It could be a life-changing decision.