The way we see ourselves undoubtedly influences the way we interact with the world. In simple terms, body image refers to how we think and feel about our body. Body image lies on a spectrum, ranging from healthy to unhealthy. Having a healthy body image is important for mental wellbeing, whereas having an unhealthy body image can be a risk factor for mental health problems.
Body image concerns can be relatively mild (e.g. minor discontent about a certain body part or aspect of appearance) or severe and debilitating (e.g. when tied in with eating disorders, low mood, obsessive behaviours and avoidance of certain activities). Body image concerns may fluctuate over time, depending on things like stress, weight, and interpersonal factors.
At Epsychiatry, our caring team of psychologists and psychiatrists can provide support via telehealth for body image and related issues. Give us a call today to make an enquiry or book your initial appointment.
Body image is complex and dependent on a range of factors, which interact to influence the way we see ourselves. Things like gender, personality/temperament (e.g. perfectionism, sensitivity to criticism), life experiences (e.g. bullying, trauma), significant others (e.g. friends, family, and other role models), media exposure (e.g. health messages, advertising), and culture (e.g. fashion, fitness and beauty ideals) can all play a role in our body image and whether it is healthy or unhealthy.
Unhealthy body image rarely boils down to one cause or trigger.
Healthy body image leads to better mental health and wellbeing and is therefore important to promote.
Body image exists on a spectrum, ranging from unhealthy or poor, at one end, to healthy at the other end. Our body image can fluctuate over time. For example, a person with a relatively healthy body image overall may still experience periods of concern or dissatisfaction with their appearance. Unfortunately, body dissatisfaction is all too common, with some estimates as high as 85% amongst the general population. So when does this seemingly normative experience become a problem?
If you experience any of the above, your body image may be a significant problem in your life. If the way you see yourself and your body is causing you distress and impacting your life to a significant degree, you will likely benefit from professional support. Having a healthy body image leads to greater health and quality of life, so it is definitely worth investing in change!
Research shows body image is a significant concern for many people worldwide. If left untreated, poor body image can continue to worsen and result in serious problems, some of which are life-threatening.
This list is not exhaustive, but based on these factors alone, poor body image is worth addressing. If you suffer from body image concerns, we encourage you to speak with your GP. Don’t forget to give our friendly team a call to discuss referral and appointment options.
There is growing research evidence showing certain psychological treatments. It’s to be effective in reducing the consequences and distress caused by poor body image. The majority of these treatments are based on a style of therapy called Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
Among other things, the treatment for body image concerns is designed to help you accept your own body. Whilst equipping you with skills to challenge self-critical and distorted thinking and gain a more realistic view of yourself. Medication can sometimes be of benefit to treat related mental health conditions or concerns, such as depression or anxiety.
Treatment for poor body image is available with our team of psychologists and psychiatrists at Epsychiatry. Your clinician will work with you to address your body image concerns and any other difficulties. We encourage you to seek a referral to our service through your GP. After that, contact us online or via phone with your enquiries.