I’ll be the first to admit I don’t follow college football. I’m a Carolina Panthers fan through-and-through, but when it comes to college football, you’d be hard pressed to get me interested in a conversation. So it was actually my father who told me a football player had gone public about his eating disorder – and I couldn’t get to Google fast enough to look it up. Until that point, I had never heard of Joey Julius, a kicker for Penn State – but I’m a huge fan of his now.
Joey Julius Opens Up About Men with Eating Disorders
The idea of a man speaking out about his eating disorder was exciting enough. Men and boys make up at least 10% of those suffering from eating disorders, but there is still tremendous stigma attached to seeking help. It’s extremely difficult to admit you need help in a culture of toxic masculinity, where “strong” is revered and asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s even more difficult to seek help for a disease most people assume is exclusively female. The fact that Joey Julius was willing to publicly attach his name to the term “eating disorder” will do a lot toward making men and boys feel more comfortable about seeking treatment for their eating disorders – whether that is anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or any other disordered eating pattern. Having someone in such a traditionally “masculine” field talk about seeking treatment for his eating disorder will open the doors for other men and boys who have been afraid to admit their problems up to this point.
Secondly, it was refreshing to see someone talk about their binge eating and give it a face, a name, and a story. For years, binge eating disorder wasn’t even in the diagnostic manual and certainly wasn’t discussed openly. Bingeing is synonymous with shame – no one talks about it for fear of being seen as “fat,” “lazy,” “disgusting,” or “out of control.” And because people don’t talk about it, the media continues to be dominated by stories of anorexia and bulimia, of sensational stories about people with double-digit weights and people (women) on their death beds because of their behaviors. We often miss the point that binge eating disorder can be just as disruptive and life-threatening as the others.
Treatment for Men With Eating Disorders
That’s why it is so important that Joey Julius was willing to come out about his eating disorder. Men with eating disorders need to know that they are not alone, they are not weak or “less than” for seeking treatment, and recovery is possible. And while it’s a great thing that boys and men with eating disorders will now be able to recognize them symptoms in themselves, it also highlights the lack of treatment options available to them.
While we have always worked with men and boys with eating disorders on an outpatient basis, we had to consider our place in providing appropriate services to everyone in our community – regardless of gender. Our staff has spent many hours planning and strategizing about how to make this work, but we’re happy to say that we now provide treatment for men with eating disorders at partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient levels with care.
The process for beginning treatment at TranscendED is the same regardless – give us a call at 704.708.4605 or start with our online application.