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What is Manorexia?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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Manorexia is a term that refers to males suffering from the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. Manorexia is not an official medical term, but is often referred to by the media in medical reports. In 2006, a major news network released a story about manorexia being on the rise, estimating that one million men in the United States suffered from it.

Anorexia nervosa, or simply anorexia, is a psychological eating disorder that causes people to diet beyond control, often to the point of starvation. Experts believe that anorexia stems from an individual’s need to control their body and they become obsessed with weight loss out of a fear of losing control and becoming overweight. The obsession becomes a compulsion, and much like other addictions, becomes difficult or impossible to control and even more difficult to admit to.

Anorexia is marked by a refusal to maintain minimal normal body weight and a fear of obesity even though the individual is actually underweight. Most people suffering from anorexia have a distorted view of their bodies and therefore do not recognize that they are underweight. They tend to practice restrictive eating, claiming fullness even though they barely eat or they practice binge eating and purging, or self-induced vomiting.

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Though anorexia is typically a disorder that affects women, medical experts estimate manorexia, or anorexia affecting males, accounts for approximately 10% of cases. The causes of manorexia versus anorexia in women may be viewed differently, as women tend to suffer underlying self-esteem issues more than men. Some experts believe males may suffer for different reasons, which could often be drug or alcohol addiction and depression.

In the case of anorexic males, treatment is inline with that of women. It involves psychological counseling to help the sufferer overcome the underlying problems linked to their eating disorder. In severe cases, for individuals who may have starved themselves to the point of organ damage, dehydration and malnutrition, hospitalization may be necessary for administration of intravenous fluids. The focus of treatment is on weight gain and is accomplished with both psychological therapy and nutritional counseling.

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