Body Image and Eating Disorders in Men
Current research suggests that more and more men are suffering from distorted body image today. This means that they are extremely worried about their physical appearance and body shape. Unfortunately, the majority of men feel ashamed to talk about their feelings, as today’s culture believes that body image concerns in men are a mark of weakness.
Men usually develop a distorted body image during adolescence. They are particularly concerned with their face or skin, such as acne problems, hair loss or muscular tone. Males in media are lean, strong and masculine, creating unrealistic expectations about how men ‘should’ look.
Severe body image issues, such as extreme preoccupation and obsession about small body imperfections, can lead to body dysmorphia. This can lead to the development of eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia. Inaccurate body perception can lead to excessive exercise, low caloric intake, as well as, the use of laxatives and steroids in order for men to build muscle and obtain a ‘perfect’ image.
Therefore, body disturbance and the subsequent restrictive dieting can be a predictor of eating disorder development. It is important to challenge body image issues in men in order to reduce relapse and lead to long-term recovery.