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Mental Stress and Poor Body Image Among Men

Having the perfect body has become a very serious issue for many men and women. While some say that it is usual for women to be body-conscious or potentially develop an eating disorder. Various studies suggest that these men developed this condition by seeing of images men with muscular and toned physique being shown in the television, Internet, and magazines. Because of these factors, the male community developed the desire to achieve the same physique that these celebrities possess. Body dysphoria is used by many medical experts to describe feelings of sadness, depression, and self-hate as a result of one's appearance. This condition now affects countless individuals around the world.

Individuals with dysphoria tend to over-train, not minding the effects that may take place in the long run. Oftentimes, these men see themselves as being thin and scrawny. Their goal to become more muscular becomes more intense and will do everything to achieve their wanted physique. They are in a hurry to achieve their ideal physique that they have disregarded the effects that over-training may bring. Over-training can cause physical and mental illness because the excessive intensity of training does not give the athlete or individual enough time to rest and recover.

This incident is common in weightlifters, runners, and other athletes. Studies show that about 10-20% of athletes over-train. The mental stress that are encountered by athletes may also impair the body's immune function. Expectations of coaches, family members, and other people can contribute to a drop in performance and the increase of acquiring infections. Injuries, the actual stress of competition may all aggravate psychological stress. Diminished immune systems encountered by athletes are resembles those that are experienced by people who undergo hypertension and sleep deprivation. In recent studies, highly stressed individuals had high incidences of respiratory ailments over a period of six months compared to unstressed individuals. Aside from impaired immune system, men who over-train may also experience a temporary reduction in sperm count and quality which may lead to temporary infertility. This happens because the body literally kills itself during training and needs time to recuperate to build muscles and improve the body. Too much or too intense physical activity may reduce the level of hormones in the bloodstream and adversely affect sperm production.

Sperm quality and production may return to normal after three days. Aside from over-training, individuals who have body dysphoria also shows signs of depression, decreased level of performance at work or school due to low concentration, and social withdrawal. In addition, body dysphoric men may feel that they do not measure up to the standards that are portrayed in the television, magazines, and the Internet. They may find some parts of their body to be something to be ashamed of. Some signs and symptoms of body dysphoria may include the following: Excessively frequent checking of one’s body or appearance in the mirror; Constantly flexing the muscles in efforts to gauge progress levels; Consuming vast amounts of foods in attempt to get larger; Avoidance of going out because of the belief that one doesn't look good; Wearing large, baggy clothing to hide one's appearance; Spending an overabundance of hours in the gym, trying to bulk up; Not taking compliments well; and Talking negatively about one's appearance. Individuals who suffer from body dysphoria and other psychological disorders should talk to health professionals to talk about their condition. These people should also abstain from magazines, television programs, Internet sites, and other forms of media that promote feelings of “measuring-up” what one sees. If this condition is treated in early stages it might be much easier to overcome.


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