Body image is widely popularized as a specifically female problem. Citing the high standards of the fashion industry, an entire commodity marketplace focused on beauty, and the objectification of males, the female from falls under a lot of scrutiny. However, the female-identified body is not the only target of scrutinous eyes. The male-identified body also receives high expectations. Pressure to be strong, muscular, lean, sculpted, and more, make up the male body image standard to which many men feel they cannot compare.
Body image issues are not restricted to anyone gender. They also don’t discriminate based on race, age, socioeconomic background, or fashion choice. Body image issues can spring from unseens pressures and obvious ones. For example, receiving commentary in childhood about body, weight, and beauty can create skewed beliefs about the way one looks. Misinformed ideologies about what it means to be a “woman” or be a “man” can cause someone to feel like they aren’t “woman” or “man” enough, forever changing the way that they view themselves.
Social environments and culture during adolescence can contribute to body image issues in both males and females. Being around growing and developing bodies in puberty highlights how different each body can be. As young minds are expanding, they are also being inundated with targeted advertising, telling them how they should look, what defines how they look, and how they should feel if they don’t look that way. Typically in adolescent social settings, social circles are categorized where those who are considered “beautiful” receive more attention. Those who might have body types which differ from the “norm” can be bullied, gossiped about, and ridicules, leading to lifelong insecurities.
Throughout adulthood, the security one feels about their body can be threatened. Ending relationships, sexual rejection, sexual trauma, and other factors can contribute to a sudden insecurity about one’s body and one’s self. Both men and women are vulnerable to hearing the wrong message and developing a harmful belief about how they look.
Too often, body image issues lead to disordered eating and exercise behaviors, causing an unhealthy obsession in the way one regards their image. To cope with the emotional pain of rejection and insecurity, both men and women turn to drugs and alcohol. Co-occurring addiction and body image issues are common in men and women. Thankfully, recovery does not discriminate either. There is a solution. Healing is possible.
If you are struggling with body image issues and have turned to drugs and alcohol to cope, there is hope in recovery. At Enlightened Solutions, we bring together the best of clinical therapy, holistic healing, and 12 step philosophy to help clients heal mind, body, and spirit. For information on our partial care programs, call us today at 833-801-5483.
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