In a new study, completed by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, found that young men concerned about their image are more likely to begin binge drinking and using drugs. The study further found that those who use supplements, such as steroids or weight gain supplements, are as high as twice more likely to turn to drugs.
Self-Image Issues Among Young Men
Alison Field, a lead researcher at the school, believes this is more accurately called an eating disorder, like bulimia. “Our findings show that there are males out there who are extremely concerned with their weight and shape, and they may be doing really unhealthy behaviors to achieve their ideal physique,” she said (HealthDay, 2013). In her study, Field sampled 5,000 teenaged males. She found that 2.4 percent of them showed concerns about their masculinity and took supplements. Field stated doctors and parents needed to be aware of the self-image issues young men might have. “They need to tell them that changing their physique is not going to change their world. They need to help them evaluate themselves on things other than their weight and shape.” (HealthDay, 2013). Field pointed to media outlets as the main source for this problem. Young men and women are constantly shown images of the “perfect body.” These images are digitally altered and airbrushed with programs like Photoshop, making the depicted physiques literally impossible to attain through natural means.
The study followed 5550 teenage males between the ages of 12-18. The team followed the children from 1999 to 2011 and recorded the findings. 9.2 percent of the children stated they were concerned about their own masculinity, but didn’t show any signs of an eating disorder. 2.4 percent, however, were concerned and using supplements to build their bodies. An additional 2.5 percent were concerned about their being thin, yet showed no signs of an eating disorder. 6.3 percent were concerned about being thin and their masculinity. According to Field’s results, teen males who were concerned about being thin, but not their masculinity, showed more warning signs for depression. Teen males who were concerned about thinness and masculinity were more likely to use drugs. Those teenage boys, concerned about their masculinity and using drugs to enhance their features, were more likely to start binge drinking and abusing drugs.
The push for males to look a certain way parallels the push toward their female counterparts. Parents need to be aware of this problem in American society and talk to their children about self-image and gender role issues. Children overly concerned with self-image, who evaluate their value as a person through their physical appearance, are a high risk for substance misuse and should seek help for their mental issues.
Narconon Freedom Center & Substance Abuse Issues
Narconon Freedom Center states there are five key factors in their program that make it unlike any other rehab. The first and foremost factor is that if someone can get over the initial discomfort and problems prior to their addiction and learn to regain respect for themselves and regain self-control of their actions, they can remain sober and live a happy life free of substances. The second factor is Narconon’s treatment method, consisting of eight unique phases. These phases successfully detoxify the body from the substances, help the recovering addict discover the source of their problem(s), and help them deal with that source by giving them tools to change conditions that the addict recognizes as harmful to their overall health.