One of the biggest obstacles when dealing with men and their health is getting them to ask for help. This is especially true with psychological and emotional conditions. Statements like “big boys don’t cry” and “toughen up” are still heard far too often and are ingrained so deep in the psyche of what it is to be a man, that it is incredibly difficult for men to feel completely comfortable about talking about how they are feeling. Even now with more and more emphasis being placed on mental health welfare there are still a lot of men ignoring their pain or experiencing shame around it.
Men, on average, die five years younger than women, and for reasons that are either largely preventable or easily treatable. Since 2004 the “Movember Foundation” has run campaigns encouraging men to grow moustaches during November – “to change the face of men’s health” – raising awareness of men’s health issues, including mental health and suicide prevention. Originally started in Australia and New Zealand, the charity is now well known all over the world with campaigns running in Spain, the UK, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, the US, plus many other countries.
It is vitally important that men understand they are not alone and that they can reach out for help if they need it. Pressures of daily life, expectations of masculinity and fear of failure are serious concerns that don’t get spoken about enough. Bottling up feelings such as these can cause some men to suffer with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders, which are tough enough on their own, without the co-occurring conditions they can create.
Self-medicating with booze and drugs can lead to problems with substance abuse and addiction. Low self-esteem and poor body image are factors in eating disorders, and men’s suicide rates are shockingly high and incredibly sad.
Men are more prone to drug and alcohol abuse than women and are more likely to develop an addiction. Men start using substances for a variety of reasons; some will try to self-medicate other underlying conditions such as trauma or anxiety.
For others, they will simply start to use to be part of a group, to fit in, take the edge off, or even just for fun. Day-to-day life gets hard, they don’t feel like they are living up to the image they have in their head of who they should be, it could be they suffer a great loss or a life-altering event happens, they find themselves turning to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Before you know it, they are faced with dependency and substance addiction.
Statistics show that men are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than women are, and more than 700,000 people died by suicide last year. There is no one single reason for someone to take their own life, there are many factors involved.
A leading risk factor in suicide is existing mental health conditions, in particular mood disorders such as depression. 1 in 10 men suffer from depression, yet only a third of them will get the treatment they need.
In general, a man’s support network will be far smaller than that of a woman. If a man loses his wife or significant other, through death, separation, or divorce, they tend to become more isolated and cut off, finding it harder to reach out for help.
Some men struggle with the reality of life versus reality, they feel they are expected to behave a certain way, have a good job, look a certain way and living up to that ideal can cause feelings of disappointment and shame. These feelings if left unaddressed can lead to anger and hopelessness.
Read more about signs to look out for in our blog post about the “World Suicide Prevention Day“
In the modern world where social media is king, there is a desire to have everything, and that includes the perfect body, or rather the media’s concept of a perfect body. However, most of us don’t conform naturally to the stereotypical ideal of what is perfect, and some will go to drastic lengths to achieve what they have been led to believe is normal. This includes dangerous dieting practices, extreme exercising, cosmetic surgery, and steroid or amphetamine abuse.
Eating disorders and body dysmorphia are problems traditionally associated with young women and teenage girls. In fact, as much as 40% of people suffering from eating disorders are male, and this figure could even be far greater, but because of the perceived stigma surrounding this illness, many male sufferers go undiagnosed and untreated.
Common eating disorders include –
Anorexia – associated with extreme thinness caused by starving oneself. Also, obsessive criticism of their own body, size, shape, and weight.
Bulimia Nervosa – commonly known as Bulimia which is characterised by a cycle of gorging on unnecessary food and then using measures such as induced vomiting and laxatives to purge the body of the calories consumed.
Binge-eating disorder – typified by regularly eating excessive amounts of food to the point of being uncomfortably full. Emotionally eating rather than fulfilling the body’s need for fuel.
Muscle dysmorphia – this is especially common in men who feel that they are too skinny and want to be more muscular, till it becomes an obsession. This can go untreated because it is seen as a healthy interest in being in good shape.
Although eating disorders centre around food, the source of the problem is psychological and connected to underlying emotional issues and linked to feelings of low self-worth and not being good enough.
Is something bothering you? Do you think you could be self-medicating? Maybe you are concerned about the man in your life – your husband, brother, or son?
Here in Ibiza at the luxury residential rehab centre, we offer a range of therapies suitable for the treatment of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, compulsive and addictive behaviours, and other co-occurring mental health conditions.
Our highly qualified team of doctors, therapists and counsellors use a carefully designed program, which includes individual and group therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, EMDR and equine-assisted therapy.
For further details and information on admissions contact firstname.lastname@example.org