Root causes of substance dependence and addiction vary from person to person. Often, dependence and addiction can be situational or circumstantial. They can also be dependent upon your feelings about yourself and your life. As researchers continue to look at how to help those who are dependent or addicted to substances, they’re finding stronger connections to body shaming leading to addiction. That’s why dual diagnosis programs California like those at Ocean Hills Recovery don’t just focus on the substance misuse itself. Ocean Hills also looks at root causes like depression, body-shaming, and more when it comes to whole-body recovery.
What Is Body Shaming?
Body shaming is criticizing and feeling guilty about your body not being what you expect it should be. There is no ‘perfect’ body model. Quite often, the way a body is ‘supposed’ to look depends upon specific weights, colors, shapes, appearances, and even behaviors. Body shaming is real. We shame ourselves because our self-esteem falls prey to what others think about us, or others outright criticize us.
In today’s age of keyboard courageous social media users, body shaming has become quite a public event. Social media and the Internet allow others to criticize you online without a second thought. You are continually exposed to critiques that may not have ever been saying were it not for the ‘security’ of the Internet.
Those comments about your weight, skin color, hair, or behaviors can then become part of your narrative. The guilt you develop about being ‘less than,’ starts to sink in deeper and deeper. A study by The Dove Beauty Company found nearly 70% of women and girls believed pressures from media, advertising, and social media were driving factors in their anxiety and pressure to ‘be perfect’. (1) On a global level, the study found that over half of the surveyed women felt that they were their own worst critics. These beliefs can bring on vulnerability with your self-esteem. That vulnerability may be a risk factor for substance misuse and addiction.
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Body Shaming And Addiction: Coping Mechanisms That Hurt
The guilt you feel when you’ve been body-shamed hurts. Whether you feel you’ve let yourself down by getting to a certain weight or shape or believed the hurtful things others have said about you, it takes a toll. Sadly, the grief, shame, and guilt you may feel can lead you to look for ways to relieve that pain. Too often, that can come in the form of misusing substances, whether legal or not.
Particularly for teens and young adults, body image and addiction are adversely connected. Research suggests that how teens view themselves and their feelings on their body image are more likely to suffer from depression and low self-esteem. More research suggests that negative body image and feelings of shame about your body can increase the use of tobacco and alcohol in teens. (2) This use of tobacco and alcohol in the teen years is indicative of a propensity to engage in risky behaviors when you suffer from poor body image. This engagement is not only detrimental to your health but can act as a gateway for further substance use and abuse.
Research also suggests that eating disorders and substance abuse disorders commonly occur together. (3) When you feel ashamed of your body and suffer from poor body image, you are more likely to suffer from an eating disorder. Research supports that up to half of those who have eating disorders also abuse or depend upon alcohol or illicit drugs. (4) This is compared to just 9% of the general population. It’s scary when you recognize the role negative body image (5) has in developing an eating disorder. (6)
Sadly, the connection between body shaming and an addiction to cope with your shame doesn’t change anything. Your body under substance abuse doesn’t change your body image. Instead, it puts you on a dangerous path of possible dependence and addiction. When that happens, it’s imperative that you seek help from dual diagnosis programs in California. They will work with you to specialize in options that fit your specific needs.
Dual Diagnosis Programs California: The Ocean Hills Recovery Difference
The caring staff at Ocean Hills knows that the path to long-term sobriety and freedom from substance use is rooted in yourself. Ocean Hills knows that shame and poor self-esteem can be barriers to your sobriety. (7) Our dual diagnosis programs California facility allows you to address the issues that may come with depression or low self-esteem and addiction. We offer a unique approach to recovery involving therapists, physicians, and family members. The ‘Collaborative Recovery’ at Ocean Hills will give you a safe place to relearn you are important. You will learn that you are strong enough to beat your addiction.
Ocean Hills Recovery looks to treat the whole you. This means we will offer you the physical, spiritual, social, and emotional support you need. The feelings of guilt and shame will no longer control you. Instead, you can break into the freedom sobriety will offer you.
If you’re tired of feeling ashamed of yourself, call us today. Ocean Hills Recovery will walk with you as you embrace the new, sober life you’re going to live.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.