Eating Disorders: A Male Perspective
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Eating disorders are a severe mental illness which affects 1.25 million people in the UK alone. Eating disorders are described as continual disruptions in an individual’s eating habits, this can cause severe mental and physical illness. This study will focus on the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa, more commonly known as anorexia. Anorexia is an eating disorder in which the individual suffering from it suffers from symptoms such as low weight, distorted body image and drive for thinness. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of males who have suffered from anorexia. The use of online public forums was used to obtain seven different male perspectives of living with anorexia. After the seven forum posts were chosen, they were transcribed and thematic analysis was conducted. Four main themes emerged from the forum posts; Emotions, Self-Confidence, Anorexia Nervosa and Relationships. The theme of emotions contained the sub-themes; happiness, fear, anger and depression. The theme of self-confidence contained the themes; pressures, comparison and perceived body image. The third theme of anorexia nervosa contained the sub-themes; weight loss, health and charity. The final theme of relationships contained the sub-themes; family, friends, change and isolation. These results showed a mixture of emotions felt by the sufferers, the lack of understanding and stigmatisation by some friends and family and the difficulties of living a life with such a controlling mental illness. Future research may further the found themes in this study and explore ways in which more effective coping mechanisms can be created to help those who suffer with an eating disorder.
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