Category Archives: Mental Health

What Causes Depression in Men?

The month of October is designated as a time to take a closer look at depression and how it may affect your mental health. In particular, October 7 is National Depression Screening Day. Men often don’t recognize depression in themselves, which is one of the reasons it’s so important to learn the symptoms as well as to understand when and how to get treatment. It’s also critical to know what causes depression in men.

National Depression Screening Day

Mental Illness Awareness Week runs from October 3-9. During this time, healthcare providers emphasize that we are “Together for Mental Health.” Screening for depression can be done anonymously and confidentially. Mental Health America (MHA) offers a free screening tool that can help you understand more about your symptoms. The screening is not a diagnosis but can be useful as you recognize the need to reach out for treatment.

Holding in Emotions

While a man may believe that he needs to hide his emotions, particularly if he is experiencing the symptoms of depression, that can actually be unhealthy both mentally and physically. Even today, there continues to be a stigma around depression, especially in men. However, it is critically important to understand both the causes and the effects and to seek out treatment.

Recognizing Depression in Men

Recognizing the symptoms is the first step toward getting help. National Screening Day emphasizes the need to understand more about how depression may be affecting you as a man. For some men, it may be a challenge to discuss their experience and they may simply turn to their work to try to stay busy and ignore the signs.

Men are also more likely than women to turn to drugs or alcohol to try to cope with their symptoms. This can lead to even more devastating consequences.

Depression Symptoms

The most serious symptom is the thought of or attempt at suicide, in both men and women. About 9% of men experience the feelings of depression or anxiety every day and over 31% experience a period of depression at some point during their lifetime. Although depression is more common in women, the number of men who die by suicide is four times that of women. While more women attempt suicide, men are more likely to use more lethal methods.

The symptoms of depression can appear very differently in men. In fact, many men do not recognize the symptoms in themselves, and it can be up to family and close friends to recognize some of the signs. Men tend to suppress their feelings and so their sadness can actually manifest outwardly as anger or aggression.

Additional symptoms of depression in men can include:

  • Loss of interest in work, family, or activities that were once pleasurable
  • Feeling anxious, restless, or “on the edge”
  • Feeling sad, “empty,” flat, or hopeless
  • Problems with sexual desire and performance
  • Not being able to concentrate or remember details
  • Feeling very tired, not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
  • Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities
  • Physical aches or pains, including headaches and stomach issues
  • Withdrawing from family and friends or becoming isolated
  • Engaging in high-risk activities.

What Causes Depression in Men?

There are a number of factors in a man’s life that can potentially be the source of his depression. If he has a family history of the condition, he will be more likely to experience depression. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will if a family member also has it, but the chances are increased.

Environmental stress can also be a factor. When a man experiences financial problems or problems at work, it can be very stressful. Any kind of major life change, such as losing a loved one or going through a difficult relationship can also be the cause of depression in a man.

A physical condition can also be the source of the mental health condition. A man who has a serious medical issue, such as cancer or heart disease, may become depressed. While the physical illness can make the mental illness worse, the opposite is also true. Men with depression can experience worsened physical symptoms.

The use and misuse of alcohol or drugs can also cause depression in men. These substances can make feelings of isolation and loneliness worse. Alcohol, especially, is a depressant and can increase the sense of fatigue and sadness in a man.

Help for Men is Here at PACE

Screening is critical to understanding the causes of depression as well as the symptoms, so you can get the help you need. Asking for help is a sign of strength. When you need help with your mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that addresses your mental health and substance use issues.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Social Isolation Among Men

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, social isolation and loneliness were impacting men in significant numbers. While everyone needs to be alone every once in a while, the effects of social isolation among men has led many to experience the symptoms of loneliness.

Isolation and Loneliness Pre-Pandemic

A survey conducted in 2019 found that loneliness was more common among men. The report details the fact that, pre-pandemic, 63% of men said they were lonely, compared with 58% of women. Several factors were identified in the report, including workplace culture and conditions at the time. Other factors included the use of social media, with 73% of the heaviest social media users considered to be lonely, compared with 52% of light users.

There were a few generational differences, although the feelings of isolation were found to be prevalent across all generations. Younger people, between the ages of 18 and 22, had the highest average loneliness score and Baby Boomers had the lowest. In terms of working conditions, people with good co-worker relationships were less lonely as were those who reported a good work-life balance.

During the Pandemic

A separate study conducted in October 2020 found that 61% of those young people, between the ages of 18 and 25 in this survey, reported high levels of feeling lonely. Just over a third of all respondents, 36%, reported feeling lonely “frequently” or “almost all the time or all the time” in the previous four weeks.

This new study also points to the symptoms of loneliness that can lead to a downward spiral for some people. The young people who reported serious loneliness also said they were feeling as though no one “genuinely cared” about them. Survey participants who said they were lonely often felt they were reaching out or listening to other people more than those other people were reaching out or listening to them.

During the pandemic, the guidance and restrictions requiring “social distancing” have led to an increase in social isolation. This sense of isolation has increased the feelings of loneliness, having an adverse impact on individuals’ mental and physical health. Throughout the pandemic, women who live alone may be more likely to feel lonely, but men are less likely to reach out for help for their loneliness, out of a self-perceived need to appear strong.

Some Men Are Truly Lonely

Social isolation among men may have more of an impact than is being reported. The burden of being alone is particularly difficult for men to bear, often with devastating consequences. Alexander Tsai, MD, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has reported that men who don’t have strong social ties commit suicide at over the twice of the rate of those men who are able to surround themselves with supportive friends and family members.

Although many men like to be independent and enjoy some time alone, some men are truly lonely. Loneliness is the perception that an individual lacks or has lost meaningful social relationships. Loneliness can occur in social isolation, which is the actual measurable loss of social contact. It is also possible for a man to feel lonely even when he is not socially isolated. A man’s desire for connection with others may not match the reality of his situation, as he may have few friends or social contacts that satisfy his needs.

Symptoms of Loneliness

There are many mental and physical health ramifications of feeling lonely. It can impair an individual’s ability to sleep, and it can drive unhealthy behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol. Social isolation among men may keep them from seeking medical care for their symptoms and may increase their stress level.

Loneliness has also been associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety, as well as an increased incidence of cancer. Although neither loneliness nor social isolation have been connected with prostate cancer in men, being single without a support network has been associated with poorer survival outcomes for cancer patients. In addition, loneliness among middle-aged men is associated with an increased likelihood of cancer, including lung cancer.

A Symptom of Depression

Loneliness can make an individual feel empty or unwanted. An individual who is experiencing the symptoms of loneliness may find it more difficult to form connections with other people. Loneliness can also be a symptom of depression or other psychological disorders. Depression, in particular, causes an individual to withdraw socially and that can lead to social isolation among men. In turn, loneliness can be a factor contributing to the symptoms of depression.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

If you are experiencing loneliness, depression, or the effects of social isolation, reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and any substance use issues you may also have developed as a result of your loneliness. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

 

Do You Have Health Anxiety?

When you see a new spot on your skin or start to feel a tickle in your throat, you may wonder if these are signs of a health issue. Maybe you’ve been bitten by an insect or you’re getting a cold. When you worry and stress excessively over developing a serious illness, you may have a condition known as health anxiety. During COVID-19, your anxiety about your health may have grown even more concerning.

What is Health Anxiety?

When you are preoccupied with the belief that you may have or are in danger of developing a serious illness, you might be diagnosed with health anxiety. You may be unable to function or enjoy life as others do, because you constantly fear becoming ill.

An individual with health anxiety will become obsessed with monitoring their heart and breathing rates. They will notice and stress over minor physical abnormalities such as skin blemishes and worry over the slightest headache or stomachache. Health anxiety results from misinterpreting normal bodily sensations as being dangerous and threatening.

Very Real Symptoms

Someone with health anxiety can experience real physical symptoms. They can have a stomachache, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, jitteriness, chest pressure, and other symptoms that may arise from their anxiety rather than from an issue with their physical health. However, when they experience these symptoms, they are even more convinced that something is seriously wrong with them, physically.

Looking for Symptoms

If you have health anxiety, you may convince yourself that you have valid reasons for your concerns. For example, you may have heard a news story about an illness that is spreading in another country and think that it will certainly come to the US, just as the COVID-19 virus did. You may also have a family member who had cancer or another serious disease and become convinced that you are also destined to get it.

When you start thinking about your family history or even news from halfway around the world, you start paying even more attention to your own body for symptoms. When you look for these symptoms, you will notice even the subtlest of sensations that you would otherwise just ignore.

Seeking Reassurance

People with health anxiety will find that they are in a vicious cycle when it comes to seeking reassurance from a medical professional. They will insist on multiple medical tests and may even visit the emergency room or urgent care center frequently because they believe they have contracted a serious illness. However, when the healthcare provider is unable to find a physical cause for the symptoms, this creates even more anxiety.

Health Anxiety During COVID-19

The pandemic has had a psychological effect on many individuals, especially those with a pre-existing health anxiety. The impact of the virus on physical and mental health across the globe may not be known for a while, but if you have health anxiety you know the impact COVID-19 is having on you now. During this uncertain time, you probably have even more anxiety about becoming infected. You may also worry excessively about the possibility of spreading the virus to other people.

Part of the increase in anxiety during the pandemic is the proliferation of news about the virus, its changing variants, the symptoms, and the transmission rate. These news items can make your anxiety much worse.

Steps to Help Ease Anxiety

It’s a good idea to limit your exposure to these news reports, particularly if they are not from trusted sources. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC are probably the most reliable, scientific sources of health information during the pandemic and during “normal” times.

You can also take steps to ease your anxiety by following healthy daily routines. Go outside, get some fresh air, and get some exercise. You can safely walk on open pathways as well as stretch or practice yoga to keep your body in good physical health. Mindfulness and meditation are also beneficial for your mental health.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

If you are experiencing health anxiety, you can reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery for help. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and any substance use issues you may also have developed as a result of your anxiety. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Anorexia in Men | Help for Men with Anorexia

Eating disorders, including bulimia and anorexia, are typically associated with women. However, the number of men dealing with this serious health issue is significant and is increasing. Anorexia in men is a major concern, but there is help for men with anorexia.

A Serious Health Condition

Anorexia is a potentially life threatening eating disorder. An individual with anorexia will severely restrict his food intake to the point where he suffers from nutritional deficiencies that can create major complications for his physical health. This may be done as an attempt to help manage emotional challenges the individual is experiencing, which can also be an issue for his mental health.

In fact, anorexia nervosa is considered to be a serious mental health condition and is often accompanied by other issues such as depression and anxiety. The condition generally involves an unrealistic body image for the individual as well as an exaggerated fear of gaining weight.

Affects Any Sex or Gender

Although typically thought of an issue that affects women, anorexia can affect anyone of any gender or sex. In fact, men represent about a fourth of the people who have been diagnosed with anorexia. The effects of the condition are more likely to be life threatening for men than for women, primarily because men will typically seek treatment much later, if at all.

Eating disorders will affect about 10 million males in the US at some point in their lives. However, men are much less likely to seek help in large part because of cultural bias. Men are largely undiagnosed as they face the double stigma of seeking psychological treatment and of having an eating disorder. Assessments tests for the condition are often geared toward women as well, which also leads to misconceptions about the nature of eating disorders among men.

A Growing Concern

Studies that have compared data over a 10-year period found that the rate of extreme dieting, or anorexia, and purging, or bulimia, have increased at a faster rate in men than in women. Men generally are also dealing with other conditions such as depression, anxiety, compulsive exercise, and substance abuse, along with their eating disorder.

Anorexia often begins to appear in a young man’s teenage years or early adulthood. The health risks and life threatening aspect of this illness can be much more severe in men, as they continue to resist diagnosis and treatment through their early years and into adulthood. The hesitation and stigma associated with the eating disorder can create a snowball effect in men.

If a man with anorexia does not seek care, his symptoms can become increasingly worse. Since men are generally under-represented in the medical literature regarding eating disorders, there can also be a lack of awareness or knowledge about the potentially devastating effects. Anorexia has one of the highest mortality and suicide rates of any psychiatric disorder, as about 10.5% of those individuals who are diagnosed with the condition may die because of their illness.

Recognition and Treatment are Critical

Recognizing the symptoms of anorexia in men is critical to the health and well-being of the individual suffering from the condition. He may be working out excessively, in an attempt to improve his body image, while also eating very little, even adhering to certain restrictive fad diets. He may be constantly weight himself or checking his appearance in a mirror. He may also withdraw from or avoid completely any social gatherings involving food.

Anorexia involves a range of emotional and psychological challenges that can be difficult for an individual to overcome on his own. For the individual’s mental and physical health, it is critical that he seek out professional treatment. Particularly since the risk of mortality for men with eating disorders is higher for men than it is for women, it is imperative to overcome the stigma and get help.

Help for Men with Anorexia

A gender-sensitive approach to address anorexia in men recognizes the different needs and dynamics involved for males. An all-male environment is particularly helpful for those individuals who may feel uncomfortable discussing their situation in a program that includes women. Understanding the need to overcome the stereotypes and stigma is best addressed in a gender-sensitive setting.

Support for Men at PACE Recovery

Eating disorders can negatively impact your physical and mental health and may lead to an addiction to drugs or alcohol. At PACE Recovery, we offer gender-specific treatment options to optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Is Alcohol a Drug?

Alcohol affects how you feel and how you function. You may feel energized and excited at first but then become sleepy and even disoriented. Drinking excessive amounts or for extended periods of time can be seriously detrimental to your health. With so many different effects on your mind and body, is alcohol a drug?

A Long History

The effects of alcohol have been known for a very long time. Attempts to regulate the consumption of the drink also have a long history. For the past 300 years, the word alcohol has been synonymous with “spirituous liquids.’ Before that, codes limiting the consumption of the beverage date back to 1700 BC.

Among the four types of alcohol, ethyl or ethanol is the type used to produce alcoholic beverages. Ethanol is the intoxicating agent found in wine, beer, and liquor. It is produced by fermenting yeasts, starches, and sugars. Consuming any of the other three, methyl, propyl, and butyl, can result in blindness and death, even if taken in small doses.

Today, just over half an ounce of pure alcohol is the equivalent to one drink. This amount can be found in a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or a 1.5 ounce shot of 80-proof liquor.

How the Body Processes Alcohol

Alcohol is a drug known primarily as a central nervous system depressant. It lowers an individual’s cognitive and physical capacities, even in small amounts. The substance elevates the neurotransmitter known as GABA and reduces nerve signals along the pathway.

As it passes through the body, 90% is metabolized in the liver. The liver can only metabolize a small amount of the substance at one time, so the excess alcohol is left to circulate throughout the body.

An enzyme converts the alcohol to a toxin known as acetaldehyde which is then metabolized to eventually become carbon dioxide and water. Along the way, alcohol affects every organ in the body. It is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine as it makes its way into the bloodstream.

The amount an individual consumes directly impacts the intensity of the alcohol’s effects. Using alcohol with other central nervous system depressants such as benzodiazepines or opioids can have dangerous effects on the mind and the body.

Stimulant and Depressant

Although alcohol is a depressant drug, it can have an initial stimulant effect. When consumed in lower doses, it increases an individual’s heart rate as well as the sense of impulsiveness and aggression as it causes a surge in dopamine levels.

Once the stimulant effects wear off, the alcohol will slow down the central nervous system, decreasing heart rate, blood pressure, and mental clarity in the individual who continues to drink. Someone who consumes large amounts of alcohol will have slower reaction times and begin to feel sedated and disoriented. Higher doses can then suppress the production of dopamine, making a person feel listless and sad.

Dangers of the Drug

Like most other drugs, consuming too much alcohol can be harmful. An individual does not have to be dependent or addicted for the alcohol to have negative effects on their health. If they binge drink, defined as having five or more drinks within two to three hours for men, the results can be serious. Heavy drinking, defined as 15 or more drinks a week for men, can also have harmful, even devastating, consequences.

Excessive alcohol consumption leads to over 95,000 deaths each year in the US. It can also increase the risk for injuries, violence, family problems, and accidents, especially from operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Long-term health issues are also a consequence of excessive consumption of the drug, including cancer, heart disease, liver disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Alcohol consumption can also impact mental health, increasing anxiety and depression. The central nervous system depressant can alter an individual’s thoughts and judgment, impacting their decision-making capabilities. Sleep quality is also worsened with alcohol consumption, which can make it more difficult to deal with stress.

Gender-Specific Alcohol Addiction Treatment

When you have developed an alcohol addiction and want to stop drinking, we are here for you. Detox and supervised withdrawal will help you safely process the mental and physical symptoms so you can move forward with a healthy recovery. If you are struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who have a desire to turn their life around. Recovery is possible, and we can help.

10 Quotes About Losing a Loved One

Losing someone close to you, even if they had been ill for some time, can be very upsetting. The grief can be challenging to overcome, particularly if you are also dealing with a mental health or substance use issue. It is okay to grieve. In fact, it is natural to spend some time after losing someone adjusting to the change. As you are processing your loss, it can be helpful to read through these 10 quotes about losing a loved one.

Grieving is Normal

The process of grieving is, quite simply, adjusting to your loss. Being sad after losing a loved one is a natural reaction. As Abigail Nathanson, professor of grief and trauma at New York University, says, “grief isn’t an illness. It’s not a sign something went wrong. It’s actually a sign something is going right.” She adds that “we’re hardwired to seek out relationships, and we’re hardwired to mourn when they end.”

There are a number of beneficial ways to work through the grieving process. One is to lean on a positive network of supportive friends and family members. You might also discuss your struggles with a mental health professional. You can also read through quotes about losing a loved one that are inspirational and remind you that you are not alone in your feelings of loss.

Quotes About Keeping the Memories

As you work through your loss of a loved one, cherish the memories you have of them. There were certainly good times and bad, and each of those can help keep your loved one close in your mind and in your heart.

“I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories.”—Leo Buscaglia, author, motivational speaker, and professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California

“Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in time of sorrow.”—Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist, essayist, poet and travel writer

Quotes About Learning to Live with Your Loss

Finding support and comfort after losing your loved one can be critical to your ability to move on. Even then, though, you will continue to remember your loved one and feel the loss in your life. The key is to learn how to manage your grief, for your mental and emotional health and well-being.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”—Elizabeth Kubler Ross, author of On Grief and Grieving

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.”—Helen Keller, American author, disability rights advocate, political activist and lecturer

“Grief is like the ocean. It comes in waves, sometimes calm and sometimes overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” —Vicki Harrison, author

“The only cure for grief is to grieve.” —Earl Grollman, writer

Quotes About Healing

Remembering the person you were close to and honoring that memory through your own life can be incredibly healing after losing a loved one.

“If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.” —Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author

“When those you love die, the best you can do is honor their spirit for as long as you live. You make a commitment that you’re going to take whatever lesson that person or animal was trying to teach you, and you make it true in your own life. It’s a positive way to keep their spirit alive in the world by keeping it alive in yourself.” —Patrick Swayze, actor

“I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.” —C.S. Lewis, author and lay theologian

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” —Leo Tolstoy, author

Dual Diagnosis Support for Men

When you are grieving after losing a loved one, we are here to support you in your recovery. At PACE Recovery, we offer integrated treatment that will address the mental health and substance use issues you may be dealing with now. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

List of Phobias Most Common in Men

Fear is a natural instinct, a powerful emotion that stems from your perception of a threat. Sometimes that threat is real and sometimes it is not. When you have a lasting and irrational fear of a certain situation or a certain object, that is known as a phobia. Men and women experience similar fears, but there are many phobias most common in men.

Uncontrollable and Lasting Fear

Phobias are considered to be anxiety disorders. They are one of the most common types of mental disorders among adults in the US, falling into three categories. In essence, a phobia is an uncontrollable and lasting fear that can lead to a crippling avoidance of an object or situation. Phobias can also lead to panic attacks.

Among the types of phobias, 10% of individuals in the US have specific phobias, 7.1% have social phobias, and 0.9% have agoraphobia, the fear of situations in which escape is difficult.

Three Type of Phobias

Agoraphobia is one of three types of phobias. People who are diagnosed with this condition may be fearful of being alone outside their own home or have a fear of being “trapped” in a crowded place. Agoraphobia is usually associated with panic disorder.

Social phobias include a fear of public speaking, which is one of the most common fears among young people and adults. It can also be a fear of meeting new people or of being in certain other social situations.

Specific phobias involve specific objects or situations. A fear of clowns, for example, is a specific phobia.

Phobias Most Common in Men

Recent statistics indicate that the number one fear for men is acrophobia, the fear of heights. Acrophobia is, in fact, one of the more common phobias for both men and women. Although many people may not be comfortable at the top of a tall building or a high bridge, men with acrophobia have serious panic attacks when confronted with a situation that presents them with a view from a high place.

Additionally, men have been found to have a fear of:

  • Snakes (ophidiophobia)
  • Dentists (dentophobia or odontophobia)
  • Injections (trypanophobia)
  • Thunder (astraphobia)
  • Being maimed (dysmorphophobia).

In addition, nearly half of men are afraid of seeing a doctor (iatrophobia) and over a third are worried about going bald (phalacrophobia).

Common Fears Among Men

Fears that are not necessarily categorized as phobias have also been identified as being common in men, including the fear of:

  • Failing – perhaps being afraid of disappointing others or themselves, and/or of living with the anticipated sense of shame they believe accompanies failure.
  • Being incompetent – fearing that they don’t have what it takes to accomplish a task or to succeed in a job or relationship.
  • Being weak or being perceived as weak – one of the biggest fears for men, as they tend to believe they are not supposed to be weak or even to be perceived as such.
  • Being irrelevant – fear and stress in wanting their lives to mean something.
  • Appearing foolish – keeping men from speaking up in groups or taking on a challenge as they fear losing credibility.

Complications of Phobias

A phobia that is not treated can seriously impact a man’s quality of life. When someone is afraid of something, they might go to great lengths to avoid the place, situation, or object. This situation can cause significant anxiety in the individual. It can also cause other complications in the person’s life. For example, a fear of flying can keep someone from being able to travel for work or for enjoyment.

In addition, individuals who experience phobias that disrupt their lives may be twice as likely to suffer from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The anxiety that stems from a phobia can be life threatening as well, increasing the risk of a man suffering from heart disease.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

If you are experiencing a phobia with anxiety and panic attacks, reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and any substance use issues you may also have developed as a result of your phobia. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Family Systems Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Just as an individual’s addiction affects other family members, the interactions of those family members may have also have an impact on the individual’s addiction. Family systems therapy in addiction treatment addresses the interdependence, healthy or otherwise, of each member of the family.

The Importance of Family Members

Researchers emphasize the importance of involving family members in the treatment of addiction, recognizing that it can have a positive impact on client engagement as well as on psychiatric functioning and the potential for relapse. It’s been found that family discord, stressful parent-child interactions, or living with a partner who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can result in a substance use disorder in the individual experiencing these situations.

Understanding these factors, especially the importance of family member interactions, can enhance the effectiveness of addiction treatment. Family systems therapies work on the premise that changing the family interaction model through improved communications and a renewed connection through a sense of loving care can result in improved patterns of interaction. This can then lead to effective treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Family Systems Therapy

Family systems theory was developed by Dr. Murray Bowen, a psychiatrist, who included eight interlocking concepts based on his research. These concepts include topics such as differentiation of self, emotional cutoff, and sibling position that can impact an individual and their family members. The theory is essentially one of human behavior. It views the family as an emotional unit and describes the unit’s complex interactions.

Although people can feel distant or disconnected from their family, it is probably more feeling than fact, according to Dr. Bowen. A family’s nature is that the individual members are intensely connected emotionally. The connectedness and reactivity of each member of the family makes all the members interdependent. As a result, when one person’s functioning experiences a change, it is typically followed by reciprocal changes in the other members’ functioning.

Addiction and the Family System

Family systems therapy in addiction treatment can help the individual understand how his family has impacted him, as well as how his addiction has affected other members of his family. Dr. Bowen’s family systems perspective describes addiction as the “outcome of a system having exhausted its capacity to manage anxiety and stressors.”

Even though the individual who is addicted is the one who is “symptomatic,” the substance use disorder is viewed as a family symptom, as all of the significant members in the family system play a part in the way each one functions in relation to the others. When anxiety is elevated within the family, the symptom of addiction will erupt. In turn, the individual’s addiction will increase the level of anxiety in those family members who are dependent on that person. As Dr. Bowen stated, “The process of drinking to relieve anxiety, and increased family anxiety in response to drinking, can spiral into a functional collapse or become a chronic pattern.”

Focusing on the Challenges of Being Human

The family systems theory does not simply focus on what causes issues for one individual, but rather on the bigger picture of the patterns within the family system. The theory is concerned with the challenges of being human within these family relationships instead of being focused on a mental illness. There is no room within family systems therapy for seeing victims and villains in relationship networks.

The individual is invited to see the world through the lens of each family member within their system. This helps them to move beyond blame so they can see the relationship forces that have set each family member on their own paths. They will help them avoid the attempt to find fault and instead work toward a unique path that will enable them to move forward in a mature and healthier life.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and your mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Personality Disorder Treatment | Types of Personality Disorders

A personality disorder may exist when one or more personality traits becomes so inappropriate for the situation and so pronounced that they disrupt an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. There are several different types of personality disorders, each with their own symptoms. Personality disorder treatment typically consists of therapies designed to address those symptoms.

Defining the Personality Disorder

Everyone has specific personality traits, those ways of thinking and reacting that make them who they are. These traits are usually relatively stable, particularly in adulthood. A personality disorder exists when these traits become rigid and maladaptive, impairing the individual’s ability to function at work or to interact appropriately with other people.

An individual with a personality disorder can experience significant distress because they are not able to adjust socially. In fact, their distress is one of the primary reasons they may seek personality disorder treatment.

A personality disorder will usually start to become evident in late adolescence to early adulthood. The individual’s symptoms will vary, depending on the type of disorder, as to their severity and in how long they persist. Some symptoms may even resolve themselves over time.

Approximately 10% of the general population has a personality disorder. There seem to be no clear distinctions in terms of socioeconomic class, race, or sex, although men outnumber women who are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder by six to one. In clinical settings, women outnumber men who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder by three to one.

Types of Personality Disorders

There are many types of personality disorders, with their own symptoms and behaviors. These are categorized into three different clusters:

  • Cluster A – Odd or eccentric behavior
  • Cluster B – Dramatic, erratic, or emotional behavior
  • Cluster C – Anxious, fearful behavior

Cluster A

Schizoid Personality Disorder – withdrawn, solitary, distant, emotionally cold, distant, absorbed with their own thoughts and feelings.

Paranoid Personality Disorder – interpreting others’ actions as demeaning or threatening; untrusting, unforgiving, and prone to anger or aggression.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder – odd or eccentric manners of speaking or dressing; outlandish or paranoid beliefs; difficulty forming relationships.

Cluster B

Antisocial Personality Disorder – ignoring normal rules of social behavior; impulsive, callous, and impulsive; a history of irresponsible behavior, aggression, and possibly even violent relationships.

Borderline Personality Disorder – unstable in a number of areas, including mood, behavior, relationships, and self-image.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder – an exaggerated sense of self-importance, seeking constant attention; prone to extreme mood swings between insecurity and self-admiration.

Cluster C

Avoidant Personality Disorder – hypersensitive to rejection, excessive social discomfort and fear of criticism; very hurt by others’ disapproval.

Dependent Personality Disorder – exhibiting a pattern of submissive and dependent behavior, relying on others to make their decisions for them; requiring excessive reassurance and easily hurt by criticism with a strong fear of rejection.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder – striving for perfection, never satisfied with their achievements; orderly and methodical but inflexible and unable to adapt to changing situations.

Personality Disorder Treatment

Psychosocial therapies are the most effective treatment for these disorders. When an individual is seeking treatment and is motivated to change, both individual and group psychotherapy can be effective in addressing the disorder. Medications may help control specific symptoms in certain cases, to control anxiety or depression, for example. However, the personality disorders themselves are typically not responsive to drugs.

Complicating treatment options are disorders that may co-occur, such as substance use disorders, eating disorders, depressive disorders, or anxiety. These conditions will need to be treated together to address the symptoms of each.

The first step in personality disorder treatment is to help the individual recognize that their issues are not caused by anything external, but rather by their own internal traits. Then it is necessary to reduce the distress caused by the disorder.

The mental health professional will work with the individual to help decrease the behaviors that are considered to be socially undesirable and that keep them from being able to adapt to social settings appropriately. Therapy can also aid in modifying the personality traits that are causing problems for the individual and for those around them.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

If you are experiencing personality disorder symptoms, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and any substance use issues you may also have. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Male Body Dysmorphia | Body Dysmorphia Symptoms

It’s natural to want to look your best whenever you can. It’s also understandable when you have something you just don’t like about the way you look. When you look in the mirror, you may think “I wish I had curly hair” or “I wish I had straighter hair.” When you look in the mirror several times an hour and are obsessed about what you perceive as an imperfection, you may have male body dysmorphia.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

A body image disorder, body dysmorphia is characterized by constant and intrusive preoccupation with a slight defect, or an imagined defect, in your appearance. People who have the disorder usually find fault with their skin, hair, nose, stomach, or chest. Even though the imperfection, if it exists, is minor, the individual with body dysmorphia will consider it to be prominent and significant, which will cause them severe emotional distress and challenges with functioning on a daily basis.

People who have body dysmorphic disorder think about their flaws for hours every day and cannot control their negative thoughts about themselves. They won’t believe anyone who tells them they look fine. They live in constant fear that others will notice what they perceive to be their physical flaw.

Under-Recognized and Under-Diagnosed

Body dysmorphia occurs in about 2.5% of males in the US and 2.2% of females. The disorder can affect people of any race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and almost any age. Two-thirds of individuals diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder experience the onset of the disorder before the age of 18.

However, scientific research studies have shown that the disorder is under-recognized and under-diagnosed. Individuals who have male body dysmorphia may not want to talk about their body image concerns, even when the disorder has affected them to the point that it is the reason that they seek mental health treatment.

One study revealed some of the explanations individuals with the disorder offer about why they are hesitant to speak up about it. The study participants said they were too embarrassed, were afraid of being judged negatively, didn’t know there was a treatment for the disorder, didn’t think it was a big problem or didn’t want to know the disorder was a problem, and believed that they were the only ones who had the disorder.

Body Dysmorphia Symptoms

Most people with body dysmorphic disorder perform a compulsive or repetitive behavior in an attempt to hide their flaws. They also constantly try to improve their flaws, even though any relief they find will be temporary. Other symptoms include constantly checking mirrors or avoiding mirrors, camouflaging the area thought to be imperfect with clothing or hats, excessive grooming, excessive exercise, and excessively changing clothes.

Muscle Dysmorphia

A subclass of male body dysmorphia is muscle dysmorphia, which primarily affects men. Even though the individual probably has a build that’s average or more muscular than average, they perceive themselves as less muscular and smaller than they are in reality. Men who lift weights or participates in bodybuilding competitions are more commonly affected by this disorder.

Men with muscle dysmorphia are typically considered to be very muscular by other people, since they routinely engage in activities that build muscles. However, the men themselves will see their bodies as lacking in muscle and even small in comparison with others. A man with this disorder will constantly lift weights, use anabolic steroids or other drugs to enhance their performance, skip social activities so they can spend more time exercising, or avoid social situations that will draw attention to their body, such as swimming.  

An eating disorder called orthorexia is also associated with this type of male body dysmorphia. Orthorexia is an obsession with eating healthy foods. These individuals will eat very regimented diets, becoming fixated on choosing the perfect foods to the extent that it will disrupt other areas of their lives.

Mood Disorder Treatment for Men at PACE

If you are experiencing symptoms of male body dysmorphia, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. Asking for help is a sign of strength and is the first step toward improved mental and physical health. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and any substance use issues you may also have. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.