For Men, Twin Sister Ups Anorexia Risk

"From 1985 to 1989, I was in and out of the hospital six times," he said.

His weight would ultimately bottom out at 102.75 pounds -- dangerously light for his size but still heavier than the 95-pound goal he had set for himself.

"I started to engage in self-harm.I started to cut myself. I became suicidal," he said.

Grahl does not have a twin sister. But there was no doubt he had anorexia. And he said his tendency toward perfectionism, combined with his overly sensitive nature and a difficulty communicating with others, drove him further into the anorexia trap.

Getting Help

Part of the battle for men, Grahl said, is confronting an illness that normally is associated with women.

"I think it has been considered to be traditionally a female-dominated illness" Grahl said. "But I'm proof that there are men who are struggling with it."

Now that he has recovered from his disorder, Grahl works frequently with the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, sharing his experiences with others who may be at risk. He also wrote a book on his experiences, titled "Skinny Boy: A Young Man's Battle and Triumph Over Anorexia."

"I needed to get the message out to men that, you know, it's OK to talk about this," he said. "A lot of men still feel there is a stigma attached to this condition."

Fortunately for these men, help is available. And the first step is admitting that there is a problem.

"You need professional help, and for men, especially, one of the hardest steps is to accept that you have an eating disorder," Grahl says.

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