Why Men Who Struggle with Body Image and Food Need Support
Men and boys often struggle in the shadows with mental and physical health concerns. It is still stigmatizing for males to come out and speak about their anxiety and depression, or focus on their health. They can easily fall into body image issues, which translate later to addiction and mental health concerns that need to be addressed. Find out why men struggle with body image and food issues along with how best to support them through the journey.
Barriers for Help
Boys do not always lose weight when looking at food issues and disordered eating. One key barrier they encounter to seeking help typically includes lack of recognition. Boys do not usually lose a lot of weight, they just focus on getting lean and increasing muscle. Men who lose a lot of weight are not seen as being in as much trouble as a woman who has lost a lot of weight. It is socially acceptable for boys to want to gain muscle and spend time working out. Sometimes this becomes obsessive, but because many men work out a lot, it may not be seen as a sign of trouble.
A second barrier to treatment is stigma around mental health for men and eating disorders being seen as feminine challenges. Men can have disordered eating or lack body awareness. Clinicians who specialize in eating disorder treatment are not always available. Most work in urban communities, with treatments that can be expensive and not covered by insurance.
Men who struggle with food issues often look to social media to tell them how to behave. Studies have shown that adolescent boys who play with action figures may feel badly about their bodies, along with watching them in movies and on television. Barbies have much the same impact for young girls in how they see themselves reflected in the dolls. Eating disorders don’t discriminate.
Knowing the signs of disordered eating and body image can be helpful. The key is to think about how a person is eating now versus a month or even six months ago. The issue often pops up over time, not just overnight. It will be a way of thinking about food that has changed, including not being willing to eat certain foods, becoming pickier, and perhaps losing weight or gaining a lot of weight or muscle. Emotionally, men need support for disordered eating from therapists who understand the challenges. Recovery from addiction can kick up body image issues so it is important to continue working on healthy recovery principles to drive better mental and physical health. Ofering to listen while sometime shares their difficult experiences can be helpful in the journey of healing.
The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Communty model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.