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07-11 Perceptions about body image associated with compulsive substance abuse, says study

Perceptions about body image associated with compulsive substance abuse, says study

Adolescence is not just a growing-up phase, it is that period which involves physical changes and exploration of myriad aspects, including body image. Due to hormonal changes, adolescents frequently complain about weight issues or their perception regarding their various body parts. An analysis of their self-image might affect their self-esteem and attitude. Self-esteem is important considering the way it affects one’s mental health and the manner in which one behaves.

Various researchers have stated that having a negative body image can have an adverse impact on one’s health and wellness. It can increase the chance of suffering from various problems like eating disorders, depression and a lack of self-esteem. A recent study shows how negative body image is also linked to greater tobacco and alcohol use that can have long-term health implications for both young men and women. Attractiveness of young women is also said to play a major role in developing substance abuse problems, the findings revealed. According to the study, titled “Adolescent tobacco and alcohol use: The influence of body image,” good looking girls are more likely to drink alcohol.

Linking weight issues with substance abuse problems

The researchers used details from the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children 2001–2002 nationwide survey of American adolescents. In the study published in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse in February 2017, they tried to find out any possible link between perceived size and weight. The researchers found that perceived size and attractiveness determined levels of substance misuse. The research showed that teenaged girls who perceived themselves to be overweight were more likely to abuse substances like alcohol and tobacco. In addition to this, it indicated that adolescent boys who thought themselves to be cadaverous were more inclined to smoke, while those who regarded themselves to be fat showed a greater tendency to binge drink. Perception of being appealing among teenaged girls was associated with binge drinking tendencies.

Elucidating the observations, one of the co-authors Virginia Ramseyer Winter, a body image expert and an assistant professor at the University of Missouri’s School of Social Work, said, “While poor body image disproportionately affects females, our findings indicate that body image also impacts young males. For example, it’s possible that boys who identified their bodies as too thin use tobacco to maintain body size, putting their health at risk.”

Improving awareness about body image can help combat substance abuse

Considering that negative perception of body image plays an important role in pushing adolescents toward illicit substances, it is necessary that parents, schools and health care advocates educate them about the same. Spreading awareness will help teenagers realize the futility of resorting to addictive habits to get rid of their false interpretation of their body size and weight while raising their self-esteem.

Teen alcohol abuse is common and you must seek immediate expert advice if you witness the problem of alcoholism in your family. The teen alcohol rehab at Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego offers effective solutions to drinking problems among adolescents. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number or chat online for necessary information about the treatment of teenage alcoholism.

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