Men and women make jokes about our sensitivity regarding body image. Do I look fat in this? However, body image is a serious issue. On the far end of this continuum this issue may lead to eating disorders and depression. Eating Disorders affect millions of people, are the most common of mental disorders among women and girls, are often chronic, associated with limited functioning in everyday life, suicidal thoughts, may result in severe medical problems, and even death (Seligman, 333).
Unfortunately, less than one third of people who live with an eating disorder ever enter into treatment (Seligman, 341).
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is better than no treatment, medication alone, and other forms of therapy for Eating Disorders (Seligman, 341). Changes in thinking, identifying triggers, and working with a therapist who cares and can listen works not just to manage symptoms but to get to the root of the problems underlying the cycle. Body image is often a huge component. Often a nutritionist can be a helpful member of the team and consulting with a doctor for medical examination and treatment is a must. Although, some people do not ever live completely free of the symptoms, many do. They learn to function and enjoy their lives more fully. A therapist can help to deal with the stress of living with the disorder as well as to tackle the underlying issues and changes in thinking and behavior that need to occur to live free of the disorder.
The first step is to come out of the denial. A friend or family member can have a huge impact on a person taking that first step. A healthy community encourages one another and the relationships among our friends, family, and neighbors are essential to the healing that takes place (Crabb, xii). Be a friend. Be a listener. Be understanding. Show respect. Hold up and bear the weight of others weaknesses where you can and you will experience so much joy in being a part of the process of connecting and healing!
Someone also made a spoof of how men all think they are good looking. Now though it is funny, men also struggle with body image and it is no joke. The female to male difference in prevalence is about three to one. Body image concerns have increased dramatically over the last three decades for men also.
Crabb, Larry. (1997). Connecting. Nashville, TN: Word Publishing.
Seligman, Linda & Reichenberg, Lourie W. (2007). Selecting Effective Treatments, Third Edition. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.