Body Dysmorphia In Men

More than 200,000 Americans have reported and been diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder or Body Dysmorphia (BDD).

BDD is a chronic mental health disorder where an individual hyper-focuses on a physical flaw, whether real or imagined. Someone living with BDD will find themselves exhibiting obsessive compulsive behaviors regarding their appearance, often spending hours a day worrying about the way they look.

Those with BDD feel so ashamed of their own appearance that they do not want to be seen. Sometimes, people with BDD will spend thousands of dollars to “fix” their perceived flaw and yet never feeling satisfied. It affects the way they interact with others and causes great distress to those with BDD.

BDD can affect boys and girls from as early as 6 years old and may continue for years or be life long. BDD is most of the time closely linked with an individual’s body image and self-esteem.

This week, kfor.com published an article describing a man’s struggles with body dysmorhpia, which led to further issues like bulimia and anorexia and suicidal thoughts. In the article the man, Brian Cuban, states that he felt stigma against getting help because “eating disorders are considered a ‘women’s issue’”.

This is idea that men do not experience BDD and other associated body image disorders is a huge problem today. Even while Googling treatment facilities for BDD, most of the descriptions cover only women, sticking to female pronouns like she/her.

According to one study, 43% of men are unsatisfied with their overall appearance, making men just as susceptible to body image disorders as women. A study from 1997 revealed that while women with BDD focused mostly on breasts and legs, men focused highly on genitals, height, and excessive body hair. It has been 18 years since this study was released and it has been further revealed that those with BDD can focus on any part of their body. Below is a quote from another study from the same year:

“ Although men were as likely as women to seek nonpsychiatric medical and surgical treatment, women were more likely to receive such care. Men, however, were as likely as women to have cosmetic surgery. Although the clinical features of BDD appear remarkably similar in women and men, there are some differences, some of which reflect those found in the general population, suggesting that cultural norms and values may influence the content of BDD symptoms.”

This news is still relevant today and the research surrounding BDD in men is lacking. As a culture, we must create an open and inclusive space where everyone feels comfortable to seek help. This begins by acknowledging that we have a problem and by making visible paths to healing, such as therapy, support groups, and spaces for open communication.

Mental Health And Young Children

A research study released in 2010 by the University of Massachusetts claims that nearly 1 million children have been misdiagnosed with ADHD. According to the study, they suggests that this occurs because the child is usually the youngest and least mature student in its class. If this happens with one learning disability, imagine the numbers if we looked at mental health in children across the board.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center wrote an article stating that gifted and talented children are often misdiagnosed with mental health disorders due to their personality traits being misunderstood. Students with high IQ’s and high reasoning skills face several challenges with school and home life. This includes boredom, disregard for rules and traditions, depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness. Gifted and talented children are keenly aware of the world around them, leading them to being moody. This is a trait seen in those with depression and often leads to a diagnosis in children with these traits.

High school students at Mountain Green high School in Lakewood, Colorado have been writing books that help teach adolescents ways to communicate how they feel. According to an article written by Nelson Garcia, the students hoped to combat adolescent suicide by giving young kids tools to talk about their feelings without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. The book titled “Dear Parents, From Kids” has a workbook and coloring pages.

With adults becoming more educated about mental health, it is important to spread this change to teens and young adults. Having an open line of communication is important and making children feel comfortable talking about their feelings from an early age will increase diagnosis and treatment options.

Depression knows no age. Although mood swings may be attributed to normal hormone changes, if these mood swings keep your child from completing everyday tasks or it lasts more than two weeks at a time, it may be time to talk to a health professional. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 100,000 children ages 10 to 14 die by suicide each year. This is a staggering and often shocking number. Being aware of the risks and reality of childhood depression is key in changing this number.

The True Cost Of Relationship Violence

According to the Safe Horizon’s website, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence and 3 million men are physically assaulted every year. With staggering numbers like this, it’s obvious to see why domestic violence is such an important topic that is being discussed more than ever.

October is Domestic Violence awareness month and though most Americans know that it occurs, the public knowledge surrounding domestic violence is still not strong enough.

The cost of domestic violence is higher than just physical problems, as $8,000,000 is the amount of paid leave women receive due to abuse they are subjected to every single year. Three women every day are killed by domestic violence, often times leaving families and children without a present mother or father. The problem isn’t only a women’s issue. 1 in 7 men will be severely injured by an intimate partner. The number is higher in gay couples, with a  2 in 5 ratio of gay or bisexual men that have or will suffer relationship violence. 50% of lesbians will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Transgender people are 2 to 6 times more likely to be subject to domestic violence than a non-LGBT person.

 

The violence doesn’t only affect those physically hurt. 10 million children will be exposed to relationship violence every year.

DoSomething.org says that 1 in 3 young adults will be subject to an abusive or unhealthy relationship. A big issue is that many people associate unhealthy relationships with yelling or physical attacks. Contrary to popular belief, an abusive relationship is any relationship in which one partner has and seeks to have more power and control over the other. This manifests in control over money, social activities, non-romantic relationships, and manipulation.

According to the same dosomething.org campaign, teen girls that have experienced abuse are 6 times more likely to become pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease. Adolescents suffering from relationship abuse are also more likely to be subjected to long-term consequences such as alcoholism, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and violent behavior.

October is domestic violence awareness month, so what can you do?

Education and raising awareness about the signs of domestic violence are the first steps. Learn the signs and then tell everyone that you know.

Advocacy and visibility is the next step. Purple is the color associated with domestic violence, wearing the color and being visible creates a safe place for those that have been affected by domestic violence to come forward.

If you have been subject to domestic violence, by joining a support group to help yourself heal you will also simultaneously help others.

Choosing to stay educated on the subject of domestic violence is a huge step in the right direction.  As a society, we must create an environment where it is not acceptable to perpetuate violence towards another person, especially against those we supposedly say we love.

Transgender Healthcare

The supermarket giant, Kroger Co, announced last Friday that it will expand its health benefits to include full coverage for its transgender employees, starting next year.

The company made the announcement on its website, stating “Beginning January 1, 2016, medical procedures including surgery and drug therapy for gender reassignment will be covered up to a $100,000 lifetime maximum for eligible associates and their dependents.”

This is a landslide win for the transgender community, with hope that other large businesses will follow suit.

The change in health care services for transgender peoples started five years ago with Obamacare. This new policy prohibited discrimination against patients based on sex, age, gender, nationality and disability. In September of this year, the Department of Health and Human Services(DHHS) released a list of rules they proposed regarding the care of transgender peoples. This is also big news as the document defined gender identity as “an individual’s internal sense of gender, which may be different from an individual’s sex assigned at birth.”

This plan clearly suggests that it be made illegal the trend of health care policies excluding all gender transitioning treatments, including hormonal therapy. The list states that health care would cover services for transgender peoples if it provides it for non-transgender people.

The broadening of access to healthcare is a large step in opening the conversation regarding tolerance and acceptance of those that are different. Not only is it a social win, but it also is one step in creating a safer place for the transgender community.

Transgender people are less likely to seek medical help due to fear of discrimination and this can lead to the progress of medical conditions that go unchecked.

Being a transgender person should not mean you are denied healthcare. Let’s continue this trend towards progress by speaking up and against discrimination.  2015 has been a huge year towards tolerance for transgender peoples, with more visibility in the media than ever but there is still a long way to go.

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with gender identity or feels unsafe due to their gender identity, please call the translifeline hotline, a non-profit “dedicated to the well-being of transgender people” at US (877) 565-8860 or Canadian (877) 330-6366 hotlines.

 

HOLISTIC HEALING AND CHRONIC ILLNESS

This week it was revealed that 23-year old pop singer Selena Gomez was diagnosed with Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. If you or a loved has been living with a chronic illness than you probably understand that the physical struggles are only half of the battle. Chronic illness can often lead to immobility and a drastic change in lifestyle, which can cause depression and anxiety.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 86 percent of our nation’s health care is spent on chronic illnesses while they still amount to 7 out of 10 deaths in the United States.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, these facts can be very scary. With prescription pills and a new health regime to follow, there are complimentary and alternative medicines that can be added to this routine. This integrative look at healing looks not only at the physical pain but also at the patients overall well being.

Holistic healing is the idea of looking at the total sum of all of the parts.  What this means is that, although physical medical treatment to alleviate your body’s symptoms are important, taking care of your body as a whole is also vital to the healing process.

There are several different aspects to holistic healing, including mental and spiritual. If you are struggling with the pain and immobility of a chronic illness then your mental health may waiver if your focus is solely on the physical pain. Not to replace medical attention or prescriptions, taking care of the mental health risks associated with chronic pain can be extremely rewarding.

Some small ways to bring holistic healing into your lifestyle is by eating right, finding ways to improve independence, exercising, getting out of doors and managing stress levels.  This can come in many different forms, such as yoga, chiropractic massages, naturopathy, and several others.

Many individuals, who are not getting the results they want from a healthy physical lifestyle, seek answers through spiritual healing. Healing the body spiritually does not always mean you have to be religious.  Without a specific deity in mind, focusing on wholesome, enlightening experiences can open you to a new world, giving you a fresh perspective on a difficult situation. Part of spiritual healing is meditating. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Health, mindful meditation can improve pain regulation through emotional control.

“A trial at a Ford Motor plant found a 58% reduction in prescription pain medication use when acupuncture and mind-body practices were used to treat low back pain,” according to the American Pain Association. “Other studies have found mind body interventions useful as adjunctive therapy to ameliorate pain, enhance treatment response, and reduce the use of more costly and risky interventions.”

The fact remains that integrating holistic methods of pain management are seen as successful and greatly improve a patients response to existing medical therapy, outlook on life and over all mental health.

Schools Can Do More To Help Struggling Children

I read an article posted on September 10 2015 “Why Aren’t Schools Doing More to Prevent Suicide?” article  They list the top 10 children health concerns. Across the country we face bullying, drug abuse, child abuse and school violence to name a few. These are very alarming areas of issues that we face as a country. What can we do about this and how can we help fix these issues?

SurvivingMyLife’s website allows schools to create support groups that are directly related to the issues the children are facing. For example they are able to create a support group called “Dealing With Bullies.” The school is the admin of this group monitoring content and providing safe outlets to students who are suffering from these situations. The students can interact with the support group feeling safe because we protect the anonymity of the user.

The school can create multiple support groups. Another example is creating a support group for childhood obesity. The school can give tips and resources through the support group helping children get the education they need about food to help fight against obesity. They can engage with the members of the group posting information, comments and talking with members of the group who ask questions. They can also message others based on how the member wants to correspond with the group.

SurvivingMyLife safely allows people to join the site and create and or join a support group they want. We make it very safe allowing the admin to be selective on who can join the support group. Our mission is to make it safer and faster for people to get information, resources and  build communities with people who have or have been struggling with similar issues. We are all in this together to make the world a better place.

One Cure For Abandonment

By the time we realize how bad someone is suffering from abandonment, it is typically too late. There are many ways that someone can feel abandonment that can have a severe impact on their self image and self esteem. It can make them feel unimportant and sometimes invisible. When this feeling starts it will build and build, and unless someone seeks professional help the person can feel like the only action to take it to physically harm themselves or harm others.

Anyone can feel abandonment, it is something that is common in this world. The cure for abandonment can be as simple as building and maintaining relationships with someone that feels abandoned. Everyone wants to be loved, included and feel like they are making a difference even if it is a small one. When we isolate people by bullying, avoiding or being too busy it can leave an everlasting fear and pain in that person and that can grow. Professional help is usually the best type of cure to help deal. When this option is not available they are looking for companionship that can make them feel good about themselves.

Things we can do to help:

  • Say hi to people no matter how different or upset they are. Just simply starting a conversation with someone can make them feel better. This will show them that they aren’t invisible.
  • Give people compliments. There is always something nice to say to someone even if you are just passing them on the street. Kind words can make a big difference especially to people who are being bullied.
  • Meeting new people and establishing a consistent relationship even if it can seem like extra work really makes a difference.

SurvivingMyLife encourages members to build relationships and show support for each other. In the words of James Taylor “You’ve got a Friend.”

 

DISPELLING THE MYTHS ABOUT THERAPY

So, you’ve been thinking about getting therapy or someone may have suggested it to you. Maybe you have heard of therapy or seen Hollywood’s portrayal of a cozy room and a couch, but never thought therapy was right for you.

Although not to replace a health professional’s suggestions, try not to rule out therapy just yet.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, around 13 million Americans were treated for anxiety or depression in 2005.

Since then, the numbers have only increased, along with awareness surrounding mental health.

This means that you most likely know someone who has been treated for one of those illnesses. Adding in the number of Americans living with another form of  a mental health disorder and victims of a traumatic event, the amount of adults who have been or are receiving therapy is innumerable.

According to the American Psychological Association, therapy is a practice designed to provide symptom relief and personality change, reduce future symptomatic episodes, enhance quality of life, promote adaptive functioning in work/school and relationships, increase the likelihood of making healthy life choices, and offer other benefits established by the collaboration between client/patient and psychologist.

The intensity and frequency of therapy all depends on the patient’s needs and desires. Some individuals go to a therapist only once, get clarity on an issue and never feel a need to visit a therapist again.

Others receive great care and attend regularly for long periods of time.

Therapy comes in all forms, such as a group therapy, inpatient therapy, nature therapy, and even online support groups like SurvivingMyLife.com. Finding a type of therapy, or combination of therapies, that works for you takes trial and error but once discovered can be very rewarding.

People diagnosed with mental illnesses are not the only people that walk into a therapist’s office. Students with high stress levels, people that have lost loved ones or have been through traumatic events might even seek the help and lack of bias of a therapist.

Seeking help from a trained, third-party individual can be useful when someone just feels like they have no one else to talk to about things in their life that are struggles.

 

Supporting Life After

It is very scary and most of the time confusing when you have just experienced someone you care about try to commit suicide and they survived. The immediate happiness of the survival quickly turns to panic and fear of almost losing that person again. This situation is so important to have the right tools to help the person you care about through such a tremendous event.

Our first instincts are to jump right in and try to make the situation better in any way that we think. The issue with taking this approach is that what we think someone needs is not necessarily what the person needs.

The first thing to do is to go slow and listen to the person you care about and their needs. A lot of times they are still in shock of what has transpired and trying to figure out the situation. Listening to them will allow them to feel more comfortable opening up about their emotions and feelings. This is so important to show the person that you are there supporting them in their time of need.

The second thing to do is to have the proper tools for the person if they need anything. The tools can include; emergency contacts readily available, medication if applicable and locking up dangerous tools. Taking these steps can help the recovery of the person.

The third thing to do is to be alert. Always being alert of mood changes or environmental changes is important to help the person you care about in these situations. If you notice anything different you should contact the doctor or emergency numbers so that the doctor(s) can assist in helping the person.

These situations are so tough for everyone involved. The best thing to do is to keep a positive open mind during the recovery of the person. Life is hard, but building strong foundations with the people we care about helps them get through tough situations. For more information you can always check out SurvivingMyLife.

PTSD Long After

We all experience traumatic events in life. The after effect of those events last depending on how fast we deal with our emotions correct? False! In some cases we deal with our emotions and feelings towards the traumatic event thinking we are past the situation and ready to move on when all of a sudden we feel like we got hit by a ton of bricks.

I read a couple of articles that explains this happens more frequently than we think. The thoughts can be as intense as “I have to talk to someone or I am going to die.” These types of feelings are not rare and now we are starting to acknowledge these things are very real to the population.

As a population, where do we go from here? It has taken us so long to finally realize more people than we think suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and it can creep up on us and we feel like our World has turned upside down. In a lot of cases we can heal from PTSD by simply talking about our issues with someone who is able to help us, and guide us through our emotions.

There are many different types of outlets available to people ranging from paid services to free services, psychologists to free support groups you physically attend. There is one major thing lacking in these services; what happens if you are having a panic attack and your psychologist is not available to have an emergency session or if the support group meets once a week?

This is where SurvivingMyLife is able to help by giving you access to online support groups where someone could be easily reachable 24/7. You can find the support you already have currently online making it easier to contact the person or group that is helping you. If you want to reach out to other people or groups asking how they are dealing with their pain you can find it in one place while feeling safe and secure. We want to make a big difference in helping those who are suffering no matter when their PTSD forms.