Eating disorders affect men too

(UWIRE) Ben struggled with eating disorders for years, and about the time he went to college, he began to eat healthier and stopped throwing up. But he still doesn’t admit he ever had a problem, even though his disorder cost him his front teeth.

I’m not sure whether Ben will ever admit to having an eating disorder that threatened his well-being and that might have effects that he hasn’t seen yet. Or if years from now, when it is a fleeting memory, he will still respond with, “I never had a problem.”

It is said that those who can’t admit to the problem are bound to repeat it. For his sake, I certainly hope not.

But there is one thing I do know: my silence, even though I argued with him on coming out about his problem, was dangerous. For those who know someone with unhealthy habits and keep quiet, their silence is also very dangerous.

Sometimes it is hard to see the consequences because they don’t come until years down the road. This is the case with eating disorders. Anorexics can have scoliosis later in life from something they did decades before.

In fact, eating disorders have many consequences that aren’t immediate — heart failure, organ failure, bone loss, damaged teeth, jaundice, ovarian failure or other heart and organ problems. One of the largest for women is the inability to conceive children.

The fact of the matter is it only takes a few months, weeks for some, for these disorders to have devastating effects that will reach far beyond the time spent with the disease.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the silence is good or loyal to the person who is harming him- or herself. Stand up and take action. Maybe at first they won’t thank you, but later when they see that stopping this destructive habit helped curb more serious side effects, they will.

I am hoping that one day, when Ben finally admits that he spent many nights bent over a toilet vomiting food and blood, I will be able to tell him I am sorry I was not a good friend. A good friend would have never let him destroy his body and possibly cut short his life.

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