Category Archives: Mental Health

CPTSD vs. PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that can affect people who have lived through a frightening or upsetting event, thus sending their instinctive danger response into high gear. PTSD victims struggle with intrusive thoughts and memories, and often change their behavior in ways that allow them to avoid potential triggers. Additionally, some trauma survivors exhibit a more severe form of this disorder known as complex PTSD.

Understanding the Difference Between PTSD and CPSTD

While PTSD can result from a one-time occurrence such as a car accident, complex trauma tends to develop after a series of inescapable, life-threatening events that take place over several months or years. Examples of experiences that can lead to complex PTSD include domestic abuse and serving in combat.

Often, the psychological and developmental consequences of complex trauma are more severe than those that result from a single traumatic experience. That’s why many mental health professionals suggest that the current PTSD diagnostic criteria outlined in the DSM-5-TR don’t sufficiently describe the long-lasting effects of CPTSD.

How Does Complex Trauma Affect Your Overall Health?

Since the brain responds to trauma by going into permanent fight-or-flight mode, trauma survivors are frequently tense, anxious and on edge, even in comfortable surroundings with no threats present. Startling easily and having concentration and memory problems are hallmarks of PTSD and CPTSD. You may also have insomnia and physical effects such as body aches, headaches and digestive problems.

Ultimately, the cumulative effects of CPTSD symptoms can be life-altering and cause significant impairment, affecting your relationships and ability to find and keep a fulfilling job.

Complex PTSD frequently co-occurs with other mental health issues like anxiety and depression. It also overlaps with addiction, as people may use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate their severe symptoms. A dual diagnosis will perpetuate itself in a vicious cycle that makes you feel much worse.

CPTSD Diagnosis and Treatment

Since there is not a specific diagnostic test to determine the difference between PTSD and CPTSD, keep a journal of your triggers, symptoms and their severity so you can describe them to your doctor or psychiatrist.

Some complex PTSD symptoms, like depersonalization, can resemble the characteristics of borderline personality disorder, and a health professional can screen you to rule out similar conditions and get you on a treatment regimen.

Complex PTSD and co-occurring addiction are treatable, and evidence shows that simultaneously addressing mental health conditions and substance use provides the best outcomes. If you’re grappling with a dual diagnosis, a therapist can teach you healthier coping mechanisms to replace drug and alcohol abuse. You may also benefit from enrolling in a residential treatment program, where you can fully focus on your health and well-being.

Why Come to PACE Recovery Center?

At PACE Recovery Center, our treatment philosophy integrates thoroughly researched and clinically proven approaches. Our premier Orange County facility provides residential and outpatient treatment for co-occurring substance use and behavioral health disorders. In our single-gender program, men with complex conditions can benefit from being in a structured environment with 24/7 care and supervision. To learn more, please reach out to our experienced admissions counselors today.

Physical Symptoms of Grief

At some point, everyone loses somebody they love. Whether a parent, friend, or child passes away, the experience of mourning can be all-consuming. You may be surprised to learn that bereavement can be a full-body experience, complete with fatigue, nausea, and listlessness. Here’s what you need to know about the physical symptoms of grief in men.

When Heartache is Real

For decades, researchers have analyzed the impact of grief on the human body. They’ve made a few promising discoveries, summarized here:

  • Grief can increase inflammation, which may exacerbate existing health issues.
  • It increases vulnerability to disease among older adults.
  • Losing someone increases cortisol production, resulting in higher stress levels.
  • Grief intensifies physical pain, appetite loss, and likelihood of blood clots.
  • Experiencing a loss heightens the incidence of “self-medication,” which is the process of drinking or using drugs to escape reality.

Some of these life-threatening symptoms can come on quickly. One 2012 study showed that the risk of heart attack increases by 21 times in the day after the loss of a loved one. It stays six times higher throughout the following week.

“Broken heart syndrome” is another concern. Emotional stress can cause chambers of the heart to expand, triggering physical sensations that mimic a heart attack. While this condition is generally reversible, it should be a clear illustration of the danger faced by men after the death of their partners, friends, or pets.

Physical Symptoms of Grief

Not all physical symptoms of grief are this severe. Most men will experience some level of bodily discomfort as they process a loss. Typically, this looks like:

  • Stomach pain and nausea
  • Loss of appetite and weight fluctuation
  • Difficulty sleeping and nightmares
  • Dry mouth
  • Throat feeling “tight”
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Crying and sighing
  • Aches and pains without physical cause
  • Chest pain and difficulty breathing

The ongoing pain associated with a death in the family can push some men to drink or use drugs. This form of self-medication is both dangerous and destructive. It stops people from moving through the stages of grief, accepting their loss, and deciding to move forward. It also increases the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder or aggravating an existing mental illness. Men who have begun coping in this fashion should contact a licensed dual diagnosis treatment center for immediate care.

How to Find Peace After a Loss

Avoiding the complications of grief requires a bit of self-care. The first step is to surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family. They can keep you company, pitch in with significant chores, and assist you in some of the biggest challenges faced after a loss (like cleaning out your loved one’s clothes and belongings). Community can make an incredible difference in your experience after a traumatic event.

Next, try to do things that are good for your body and soul. We recommend regularly exercising, which releases feel-good endorphins and alleviates symptoms of depression. Eat healthy, hearty meals and try to avoid binging on comfort foods. Fueling your body properly will empower you to adapt to life after loss.

Finally, remember that professional help is available. Some people experience prolonged or complicated grief, which require intervention from a trained psychologist. Mental health providers can help you to unpack your feelings, open up about your loved one, and resolve complex emotions.

Suffering from Physical Symptoms of Grief?

While it may feel impossible right now, things will get better. Your loved one would want you to live a happy, healthy life free from substance use or mental illness. PACE Recovery Center offers a haven for young men struggling with physical symptoms of grief, addiction, and more. To learn more about our comprehensive, fully individualized programming, contact our admissions office. 

Why Do People Steal in Early Recovery?

Substance abuse leads to a host of bad behaviors, including deception and petty theft. However, you may be surprised to learn that these misdeeds aren’t limited to active addiction. At PACE, we have observed that some young men first begin to shoplift in early recovery. Today, we’ll discuss this counterintuitive form of self-sabotage, the psychological principles behind it, and alternatives for those seeking to stop stealing.

Examples of Stealing in Early Recovery

While most associate theft with dire need, the reality is that many people in early recovery aren’t stealing because of poverty or economic disadvantage.

To illustrate this point, consider that commonly pilfered items include teeth whitening kits, laundry detergent, spices, energy drinks, over-the-counter medications, cell phone charging cables, sunglasses, clothing, and snack foods. Not essentials or valuables.

In fact, the following three points are true of most post-treatment shoplifting cases:

  • People steal products they do not need.
  • Stolen items often carry little or no value.
  • People in early recovery can usually afford the items they take.

Career criminals orchestrate high-value heists with accomplices. Those stealing after treatment operate differently; they shoplift alone and without prior planning. This spontaneous behavior then leads to strong feelings of guilt and shame. Why, then, do young men in recovery decide to take things that do not belong to them?

Psychological Reasons for Stealing

This pattern of behavior makes more sense when considered from a neurological perspective. The brain’s limbic system is responsible for rewarding survival-oriented actions like eating. Drinking heavily or taking drugs rewires this part of a person’s mind, along with another crucial structure: the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The PFC handles higher-order thinking, judgement, and self-control.

When these two areas are compromised, the brain has one priority—getting a dopamine hit through any means necessary.

For most people in active addiction, this means using drugs or alcohol. But when these substances are off the table in early recovery, stealing becomes an appealing replacement. Newly sober men often turn to theft as a form of sensation-seeking. The rush of taking a risk can become an unhealthy source of stimulation after treatment.

Troublingly, when someone steals and evades legal consequences, “getting away with it” may make him feel invincible. It’s important for men who believe this to know that most major retailers build cases on shoplifters over time. While they may not be stopped by security officers on their first, second, or third visit, arrest is likely after crossing a certain threshold of theft.

Finding Healthy Stimulation in Recovery

Fortunately, young men in recovery have access to alternative forms of entertainment. Below are a few safe and legal activities for thrill-seekers who want to stay sober.

  • Exploring new cities, countries, and natural settings
  • Taking a trip with nothing pre-planned
  • Going bungee jumping, rock climbing, or ziplining
  • Riding a roller coaster
  • Playing a team sport
  • Making new friends
  • Watching horror films
  • Getting a motorcycle or jet ski
  • Surfing
  • Skydiving
  • Running a marathon
  • Climbing a mountain

If you’re concerned about a pattern of theft after treatment, help is available. PACE Recovery Center offers dual diagnosis care to men at all stages of recovery. Our residential and outpatient mental health programs provide structure and clinical insight to clients diagnosed with emotional issues and co-occurring substance use disorders. Contact our admissions team to learn about our California treatment center.

988: Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been a resource for people struggling with mental health crises for over fifteen years. Previously, the only way to contact the lifeline was by dialing their 1-800 number. Because this phone number was so long, therapists often encouraged those with severe mental illnesses to program the number into their phone or keep a card on hand to reference. However, as of July 16, 2022, those in distress can now call the suicide prevention hotline, now known as the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, by dialing 988. 

Suicide Prevention Hotline Services

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a resource that anyone struggling with a mental health concern can use. Despite having “suicide” in the name, this hotline offers more than suicide prevention. In fact, according to their website, the lifeline can help with any type of emotional distress including:

  • Depressive or anxious thoughts
  • Side effects of abuse
  • Relationship stress
  • Gender and sexual identity
  • Substance misuse
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

These trained counselors are available 24/7, so people can call whenever they are dealing with an overwhelming event.

Developing the 988 Number

The suicide hotline created this new number to make crisis services accessible to a wider audience. Much like how people recognize 911 as the number for physical emergencies, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline hopes 988 will become a recognized standard for mental health situations. Alongside this change, they are also working to better serve minority and disabled populations. This includes the Deaf community, LGBTQ+ people, veterans, indigenous populations, and Spanish-speaking communities. 

How the Suicide Hotline Works

When someone dials 988, the service routes the call to a local crisis center, where a trained counselor answers the phone. This ensures the person calling has access to local resources that can help them both during and after the call. The counselor will talk the caller through their situation, provide immediate support, and connect them to resources when appropriate. These calls are confidential, meaning counselors will not share information without the consent of the caller. The only exception to this is if a person is in immediate danger and emergency services are necessary. However, these types of situations only account for less than 2% of calls. 

Mental Health Support Beyond Crisis Lines

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a great resource for anyone managing a serious mental illness. However, this doesn’t replace a need for counseling or residential treatment. Frequently calling the lifeline is an indication that a person’s mental illness is severely interfering with their life. This person likely requires more intensive support. 

At PACE Recovery Center, we offer residential and outpatient mental health support for young men with complex mental health diagnoses. We treat mood disorders, trauma symptoms, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders through a combination of evidence-based therapeutic interventions. Our Southern California center provides a break from the busyness of life for adolescent men. This helps them recover from their mental illness in a safe, comfortable environment. If you know of a young man who would benefit from intensive treatment for a mental health issue, contact us today.

Is Crying Good for You?

Crying is a natural response to the different emotions that humans experience. Whether it’s anger, sadness, happiness, or grief, any emotion can result in shedding a few tears. Men may be tempted to hold back their feelings in an effort to maintain a certain image, but this can do more harm than you might think. In fact, crying can be good for you both physically and mentally. 

Why Do We Cry?

In infants and small children, tears usually signify a physical need or pain that they are unable to communicate through words. However, crying in adulthood has perplexed researchers for centuries. Researchers offer multiple explanations for this phenomenon.

A 2013 study argues that tears are often indicative of a need for support. This theory is consistent with current understandings of why infants cry as well. In adulthood, crying signals that a person has an unmet need or feels helpless. For example, someone who experiences a natural disaster may sob over the loss of their home or belongings. This isn’t necessarily related to the physical loss but could be a feeling of helplessness and uncertainty about the future. 

Other researchers view crying as an effective self-soothing technique. A 2014 study argues that when a person allows themselves to feel emotions in this way, they experience mood improvement and relief. This study focuses more on the inward effects of this act as opposed to it expressing an unmet need. However, both of these articles support the idea that tears serve a greater purpose and can be good for you. 

Benefits of Crying

Crying can have both physical and psychological benefits including:

  • Emotion Regulation: This releases built-up emotions, reducing stress and anxiety about the situation.
  • Increasing Support: Because crying can signal a need for help, this provides an opportunity for others to come alongside the person in distress to support them.
  • Releasing Toxins and Hormones: Some researchers argue that emotional tears are connected to hormones and toxins, so they can help regulate these imbalances. They can also release endorphins which improve mood.
  • Clearing Eye Debris: Pollen, dander, and other particles can get caught in an eye and damage the cornea if they aren’t cleared. Tears are the body’s way of keeping a person’s eyes clean and protected.

Allowing Yourself to Cry

Despite what popular culture may portray, crying is not a sign of weakness. It’s actually the body’s natural response to unexpected or difficult circumstances. There are areas in every person’s life that are outside of their control and difficult to manage. Tears signify a recognition that this is a bigger issue that needs more support. 

As a young man, you may feel like you can’t allow yourself to let go and cry, but remember that this is actually a healthy and normal reaction. Tears help release built-up emotions and can relieve stress. And while this is often good for you, there are also times when this signifies a need for more support. If this happens multiple times per day or for days at a time, it’s time to seek professional care.

Mental Health Support at PACE Recovery Center

Tears in response to difficult situations, pain, or grief are usually nothing to be concerned about. However, if you’re unable to control your emotions, this could be a sign of a deeper issue. Depression and anxiety can create high levels of distress, resulting in uncontrollable tears. 

At PACE Recovery Center, we offer both residential and outpatient mental health treatment. We work with young men to develop coping skills to manage the emotions they are feeling. Our treatment model emphasizes expressing feelings in a healthy way and processing through difficult life circumstances. We understand the healing power of crying and work with young men to foster a positive view of their emotions. If you or a young man you know would benefit from intensive mental health support, contact our Southern California center today.

Signs of a Psychotic Break from Marijuana

Marijuana use has become increasingly more common amongst teens and young adults with the legalization of cannabis in multiple states. Many assume this substance is safe for consumption, but there are a number of negative effects for those who frequently use or misuse marijuana. Included in the list of possible side effects is psychosis. However, knowing the signs to look out for can help someone who is experiencing a psychotic break from marijuana use get the support and treatment they need. 

Effects of Marijuana Use

Cannabis use affects both the mind and body of the person using the substance. While some effects only last for short periods of time, others can have long-term consequences. Immediate effects include:

  • Altered senses (sounds, visual effects, sensitivity to touch)
  • Impaired movement and thought processing
  • Challenges with memory and decision making
  • Hallucinations, delusions

Long-term use can cause symptoms such as:

  • Lasting cognitive impairment
  • Difficulty learning new information
  • Breathing problems
  • Increased heart rate
  • Signs of schizophrenia, paranoia, or hallucinations

Bipolar Disorder and Marijuana

According to a 2017 research analysis, those with bipolar disorder have some of the highest rates of marijuana use among those with mental illnesses. In fact, some studies reviewed in this report note that almost 10% of people with bipolar have a cannabis use disorder. Those with this mental illness may be more likely to use the substance to help regulate their emotions, but it often has the opposite effect. The same research analysis reports that marijuana use can increase the intensity and duration of manic episodes and create rapid cycling between manic and depressive episodes. The substance can also increase suicidal ideation and symptoms of psychosis, resulting in a psychotic break.

What is a Psychotic Break?

A psychotic break occurs when someone loses touch with reality. This usually includes hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. In the mental health field, professionals refer to this as psychosis or a psychotic episode. This can be a warning sign that a person could develop schizophrenia in the future, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that will happen. In fact, less than one percent of U.S. adults develop schizophrenia, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Rather, it’s more common that people will exhibit temporary symptoms of psychosis that can be managed through treatment and lifestyle changes. 

Signs of a Psychotic Break from Marijuana Use

Psychosis that comes as a result of marijuana use has similar characteristics to other types of psychotic breaks. Early signs of this include:

  • Insomnia
  • Seeing shadows or objects that others don’t
  • Hearing voices or ringing in the ears
  • Smelling or tasting things that others can’t
  • Difficulty thinking clearly

A full psychotic break will involve both hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations occur when a person hears, sees, or feels something that isn’t present in reality. Delusions are beliefs that are either untrue, irrational, or based on an altered perception of reality. This can include a person believing they have special powers, are being controlled by external forces, or are on a special type of mission.

Treating Psychosis Due to Marijuana Use

Cannabis use increases the chances that someone will experience a psychotic episode, and those with bipolar disorder are at an even greater risk. At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in treating young men who are managing substance use and mental health issues. Psychosis can be a terrifying experience, especially when people aren’t sure what’s going on. We help the gentlemen in our program develop coping skills for symptoms they are experiencing while addressing underlying diagnoses contributing to their condition. Our multiple levels of treatment provide support in all stages of recovery. If you or a young man you know would benefit from an integrative treatment program, contact us today. 

Is Mental Health a Social Issue?

Mental health disorders affect a large percentage of the United States population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime. As a result, most people have either experienced these disorders themselves or know someone who has, making mental health a pressing social issue.

What Constitutes a Social Issue?

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, a social issue (also referred to as a social problem) is:

“[A] generic term applied to a range of conditions and aberrant behaviors which are manifestations of social disorganization. It is a condition most people in a society consider undesirable and want to correct by changing through some means of social engineering or social planning” (2015).

Simply put, social problems occur within society, affect a wide range of people, and require help from policymakers and citizens alike to address the concerns. These issues have negative consequences for the majority of the population. Examples of social issues include:

  • Crime rates and prison systems
  • Domestic violence
  • Ethnic or racial tension
  • Sexual assault
  • Poverty
  • Unemployment

All of these are widespread challenges that need to be addressed as a collective whole. In other words, changes are not easily made on an individual level and need large-scale intervention.

Why Mental Health Is a Social Issue

Mental health issues affect more than those who have a diagnosed disorder. Loved ones, friends, and those who interact with people who have a mental illness all see the impacts of these diseases. Often, there are two leading causes of a mental illness: genetics and environment. Environmental components make mental health concerns a social issue as these disorders often occur in response to:

  • Abuse or neglect
  • Witnessing or being a victim of violence
  • Lack of consistency or support in childhood
  • Poverty, lack of resources
  • Housing insecurity

These factors all require societal reform in order to adequately address them, making mental health a public concern. Additionally, the U.S. mental health system needs to be better managed. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), only 34% of those with mental illness received services to manage their diagnosis. There is an ongoing stigma associated with mental health issues, and this needs to be addressed by society as a whole.

Improving Social Support for Mental Health Disorders

Someone who has a diagnosis of a mental illness sees its effects in relationships, work, school, access to resources, and public perception. To improve how these people interact with society, we need to put better support in place. This includes:

  1. Creating early intervention and education programs
  2. Making mental health services available to more people through public funding
  3. Identifying risk factors to inform services
  4. Increasing public education on mental health to reduce stigma
  5. Advocating for policies to support individual recovery efforts (time off from work/school, comprehensive healthcare coverage)

Better serving people who have mental health conditions not only benefits this population — it helps communities as a whole function more cohesively. The U.S. Department of Health has a plan to improve mental health services as part of their Healthy People 2030 initiative. They are tracking each objective with the ultimate goal of improving health and quality of life for people with mental illnesses.

Comprehensive Mental Health Treatment at PACE

At PACE Recovery Center, we are consistently working to reduce the number of young men who have untreated mental health conditions. Our California treatment center offers multiple treatment options for teens and young adults who are managing a mental illness. We help men with mood disorders, anxiety, trauma, and other diagnosed conditions learn to manage symptoms while unpacking the root sources of their disorder through psychoeducation and therapy.

Our residential program provides intensive treatment while allowing our recovering gentlemen to continue their schooling through our PACE Academy program. If you or a young man you know would benefit from mental health care that promotes future independence, contact us today.

Reference:

Scott, J. (2015). A dictionary of sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Effects of Growing Up in a Dysfunctional Family

No family is perfect, but those who have a severely dysfunctional family are at a greater risk of developing mental health and substance use disorders. Children who have relationships that lack consistency often go without the emotional support they need for development. The effects of growing up in this type of environment can leave a lasting impact on children throughout their teen and adult years, especially if they don’t receive the help that they need.

What Is a Dysfunctional Family?

Dysfunction can come as a result of abuse, neglect, emotional unavailability, or mental health issues amongst members of the family. Children who do not have their emotional or physical needs met often struggle to feel any sense of security. Those who experience these issues may not feel like they have anyone to talk to or feel protective of relatives. As a result, children often suffer in silence, internalizing the challenges they face. Toxic family structures can involve members within or outside of the home. Distant parents, grandparents, and extended relatives can all have an impact on the child’s emotions.

Growing Up in a Toxic Family Dynamic

It’s nearly impossible to grow up in this environment without it affecting a person’s emotions and behaviors. Some of the most common effects of a dysfunctional family include:

  • Feelings of isolation
  • Approval-seeking
  • Anxiety and intimidation (especially related to authority)
  • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or helplessness
  • Challenges with intimacy
  • Substance misuse, addiction
  • Inability to process emotions properly

Every person reacts differently to challenging situations, so your teen may display behavior outside of these listed. As a whole, teens and young adults who have been part of unhealthy relationships will likely exhibit challenges with expressing emotions, regulating behavior, and utilizing healthy coping skills. 

Because they’ve learned how to respond to difficult circumstances on the basis of survival, their behavior is consistent with the dysfunctional environment. For example, men who experienced manipulation in their early years are more likely to be excessively agreeable at the cost of their own needs. Adolescents who were victims of physical abuse may lash out in a similar way when they are frustrated. Though not healthy, these responses are natural given their past experiences. 

Mental Health Issues and Family Dysfunction

Teens and young adults who were exposed to an unhealthy environment at an early age exhibit learned behaviors that can develop into complex mental health issues. Those who experienced trauma connected with a family member may fear this person, resulting in anxiety and stress responses. Any type of trauma can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder which often brings flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and avoidance of situations. Depression is common for men who experienced trauma, especially if they grew up believing they couldn’t talk about their emotions. Even after their situation changes, these effects can continue. 

Intensive Mental Health Treatment for Young Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we have seen how family dysfunction specifically affects young men. These teens and young adults often struggle with expressing and managing emotions, but our mental health treatment program supports them every step of the way. Our residential program offers intensive treatment with trauma-focused care, so they can process difficult family dynamics from their past. Many also turn to substance use to cope with their negative feelings. Because of this, we offer addiction and dual-diagnosis treatment to help each young man manage both diagnoses concurrently. If you or a young man you love would benefit from treatment for a mental health or substance use disorder, contact our admissions team today to learn about our programs.

Reference:

Minullina, A.. (2018). Psychological Trauma Of Children Of Dysfunctional Families. 65-74. 10.15405/epsbs.2018.09.8.

Anorexia in Men

Though you might assume eating disorders primarily affect young women, the unfortunate reality is that people of all gender identities can develop disordered eating patterns and related issues such as body dysmorphia. Anorexia is a potentially deadly mental illness that affects an estimated 10 million men, according to statistics from the National Eating Disorders Association.

Men who have anorexia sometimes go overlooked because the symptoms present differently in men and women. Many men with eating disorders can benefit from gender-specific treatment to understand and overcome their anorexia concerns.

Understanding Anorexia in Men

During the teen years, young men become more aware of their appearance, sexuality and societal expectations. Adolescent boys who unfavorably compare themselves to the toned, muscular bodies they see in the media can become determined to conform to those unrealistic standards through diet and exercise, thus perpetuating harmful and obsessive patterns.

While anorexia in young women manifests primarily in losing weight by counting calories and restricting food choices, anorexic behaviors in young men might include:

  • A preoccupation with gaining muscle mass
  • Working out several times per day
  • Exercising even when sick or injured
  • Abusing steroids or other substances to build muscle faster
  • Low self-esteem and distorted body image
  • Holding themselves to unattainable requirements

Risk Factors for Anorexia

While anyone can develop an eating disorder, some men are more vulnerable to anorexia than others. For instance, men who have been victims of bullying about their weight from a young age, or who have experienced traumatic events such as sexual abuse or harassment, can become anorexic because it gives them a sense of control they’ve lacked.

Due to gender biases, men may be less likely to seek treatment for disordered eating. It might also be harder to get an accurate diagnosis because the traditional assessment tools health professionals use better reflect women’s symptoms.

Toxic masculinity plays a role, too – boys and men grappling with these issues could be afraid to admit they are struggling with a condition largely perceived as feminine. When they finally get help, they are often further along in their illness and could face severe health consequences, including malnutrition and even organ failure.

Start Your Recovery Journey Today

Men with disordered eating also tend to have high rates of co-occurring mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, substance use and suicidal ideation. That’s why it’s crucial to find a treatment center that emphasizes the therapeutic process and evidence-based methods.

At PACE Recovery Center, we provide gender-specific treatment that helps men break the stigma of asking for help and getting support for issues like trauma and addiction. We have created a safe, judgment-free environment where men aged 18 to 30 can begin to rebuild their lives. When you contact us, we will tailor a treatment plan that helps you address unresolved mental health issues and move forward with confidence.

Men’s Health Issues

Many men ignore their mental and physical health, which may cause them to develop preventable illnesses that take years off their lives. Having a preventive mindset is one way to be a better steward of your overall well-being. This Men’s Health Month, here are some proactive steps you should take to avoid illness and stay healthy at every stage of your life.

1. Get Screened for Heart Disease

Even if you have no apparent symptoms, you may still be at risk for high blood pressure and other forms of cardiovascular disease. You can take an active role in your heart health by taking your blood pressure, getting routine checkups and being aware of your unique risk factors. Eat a balanced diet, quit smoking, stay active, reduce stress and take other measures as instructed by your health provider.

2. Work to Prevent Cancer

Common cancers diagnosed in men include skin, prostate, colorectal and lung cancers. A combination of a healthy lifestyle and regular screenings can help you stay cancer-free. To reduce your risk of various cancers, wear sunscreen, cut back on meat, quit smoking and talk to your doctor about other preventive measures.

3. Exercise Regularly

The physical and mental health benefits that come with getting in shape are well-documented, but you might still have trouble finding the motivation to work out. If you don’t already have an exercise regimen, use Men’s Health Month as your opportunity to start one.

  • Work out with a friend or partner – that way, you can keep each other accountable.
  • Choose an activity you enjoy. For example, if you’ve tried jogging and couldn’t stick with it, try swimming, biking, rock climbing or hiking instead.
  • Join a recreational sports league. Games like kickball and softball are an excellent way to get active. You’ll elevate your heart rate and burn calories without it feeling like a chore. You could even make some new friends along the way.
  • If it’s hard to carve out time in your schedule, try “exercise snacking.” With this approach, you squeeze in brief periods of activity whenever you have a few free minutes, instead of spending an hour in the gym each day.

4. Know the Signs of Depression

Some men are depressed without realizing it because the symptoms don’t always align with what they expect. Men may experience depression as anger or irritability instead of sadness and hopelessness. You might also prefer to try ignoring your feelings instead of exploring them. If you are having any mood irregularities, take the first step by speaking with a therapist or counselor.

5. Find Healthy Coping Mechanisms

If you regularly use alcohol and drugs to help you relax and feel good about yourself, you are compromising your health in more ways than one. These substances can change your brain to a point where you no longer feel like yourself unless you’re drinking or using. Long-term use will also put you on a path to addiction, cause significant organ damage and compromise your relationships with friends and family members.

Be Proactive About Your Health

You only get one body, so it’s crucial to prioritize your well-being by taking an active role in your health. Form a partnership with a therapist or general provider who can guide you toward recommended tests, answer any questions you may have and put you on a path to improved wellness.

At PACE Recovery Center, we address all facets of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We’ve designed our Orange County gender-specific treatment specifically to empower men to experience the freedom of a substance-free lifestyle. Speak with our admissions team to learn more about how we can help you live life on your terms.