Category Archives: Mental Health

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.

Anxiety Symptoms in Men

Symptoms of mental and physical health issues will often look different in men than in women, for a variety of reasons. Anxiety symptoms in men can be somewhat similar to those in women but with some key differences.

Stigma and Emotional Vulnerability

Men tend to view emotional vulnerability as a weakness. Given the stigma that can be associated with a mental health disorder, that adds to their reluctance to share their struggles with others. So, while men may actually have some of the same symptoms of anxiety as women, they will be less likely to talk about what they are feeling. Instead, they will react in a way that may seem, to them, to be a more masculine approach.

Women Twice as Likely to Be Diagnosed

The causes of anxiety are many and varied. They could be worries over work, finances, or relationships. An endless loop of self-doubt can evolve from these feelings of stress and apprehension, which could result in an anxiety disorder. In addition, medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or a decline in hormone levels can result in an anxiety disorder. Low testosterone has been shown to increase anxiety levels as well as contribute to an increase in cortisol, the stress hormone, which can drive anxious feelings.

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the US. Of those, 14% are men. One type, social anxiety disorder, affects just over 4% of men and almost 6% of women. Even though those numbers may seem close, women are more likely to report lifetime social fears and internalizing disorders. They are also more likely to seek professional treatment for their anxiety disorder. Men were more likely to have externalizing disorders and use alcohol or drugs to relieve their symptoms.

Anxiety Symptoms

In men, the symptoms of an anxiety disorder often show up as irritability or anger. Physical symptoms can include sweating, a pounding heart, headaches, stomach issues, trouble sleeping, and fatigue. Emotionally, men are more likely to exhibit their feelings of anxiety in ways that seem to them to be more masculine, essentially attempting to not let their mental health issues show externally to others.

A researcher and clinical associate professor at Stanford University, Carmen McLean, PhD, explains, “I think the biggest thing is men are socialized not to show anxiety. Socializing to show agency and self-efficiency dissuades from showing anxiety.” Men will often display rage or anger when they are feeling the symptoms of anxiety. They are also more likely to experience strains in their relationships, because of their excessive worrying.

The stigma of mental health and their own sense of masculinity keeps men from opening up to others and that can cause their emotions to build to a breaking point. Attempting to bury or hide their anxiety can make the situation much worse. The result can be a flood gate of anger and irritability. Women typically have a close circle of friends that they feel they can confide in, where many men do not have that type of support or simply choose not to share their mental health struggles with anyone else.

Anxiety and Addiction

McLean adds that anxiety disorders in men are often accompanied by substance abuse. Research has consistently found links between substance use and mental health disorders in men. For example, a recent Columbia University study determined that men use alcohol and drugs more often than women to relieve their anxiety symptoms. Men will often forego professional treatment, not wanting to open up about their feelings of anxiety, and may instead turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. This behavior is often the doorway to addiction.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

If you are experiencing anxiety symptoms, 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.

Men’s Health Month 2021

The month of June has been designated as Men’s Health Month. The week of June 14 through June 20 is Men’s Health Week, with Father’s Day occurring on June 19 this year. During Men’s Health Month 2021, it is important to take a look at some critical factors affecting men’s mental and physical health.

Focus of Men’s Health Month

Individuals and organizations involved in Men’s Health Month activities are focused on heightening an awareness of preventable health problems, as well as on encouraging early detection and treatment of mental and physical health issues, for men. Men are encouraged this month, in particular, to seek medical advice and to seek out early treatment for diseases or injuries.

Men’s Health Month itself was created in 1994 by Senator Bob Dole and Congressman Bill Richardson. The proclamation was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton as Men’s Health Week, the week ending in Father’s Day. It was expanded to include the entire month in the late 1990s. The annual awareness month continues to focus on preventable mental and physical health problems experienced by men. Healthcare providers use this time, especially, to encourage self-exams and screenings in men.

International Men’s Health Week came about in 2002 when representatives from six leading men’s health organizations across the globe met at the 2nd World Congress on Men’s Health in Austria. They resolved to work together on the dedicated week to increase awareness of men’s health issues on a global level, including encouraging providers to develop policies and services that meet the specific needs of men and their families.

Men’s Health Facts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics from 2018 show a number of areas where men have the opportunity to improve their physical health. Their numbers include:

  • 9% – the percent of men aged 18 and over who are in fair or poor health.
  • 5% – the percent of men aged 20 and over with obesity (numbers are from 2015 to 2018).
  • 9% – the percent of men aged 18 and over who had five or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the past year.
  • 3% – the percent of men aged 18 and over who currently smoke cigarettes.
  • 9% – the percent of men aged 20 and over with hypertension (measured high blood pressure and/or taking antihypertensive medication) (numbers are from 2015 to 2018).
  • 6% – the percent of men aged 18 and over who met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity through leisure-time aerobic activity.

In addition, the CDC notes that the leading causes of death for men are heart disease, cancer, and accidents or unintentional injuries.

Men and Alcohol Use

The CDC also states that men are more likely than women to drink excessively. The organization points out that this excessive drinking is associated with significant risk to the health and safety of men and that the risks increase with the amount of alcohol. When drinking alcohol or using other substances, men are more likely to take risks that could put their health and their lives in danger, such as having multiple sex partners or taking chances in a car by not wearing a seat belt. CDC statistics on men and alcohol include the facts that:

  • Almost 59% of adult men report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days compared with 47% of adult women.
  • Men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women. Approximately 22% of men report binge drinking and on average do so 5 times a month, consuming 8 drinks per binge.
  • In 2019, 7% of men had an alcohol use disorder compared with 4% of women.

Men and Mental Health

Mental health is also a topic that needs attention during Men’s Health Month 2021. Mental Health America (MHA) reports that six million men are affected by depression each year. Over three million men experience an anxiety disorder. These mental health disorders often go undiagnosed, though, as men will tend to report their experiences as fatigue, irritability, or a simple loss of interest in their work or relationships. MHA also reports that 90% of the people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia by age 30 are men.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

If you are experiencing mental health or substance use issues, we want to help get you back on track with your life. 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.

How PTSD Presents in Young Men

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has long been associated with veterans and first responders. However, anyone who experiences a traumatic event can be susceptible to PTSD. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Understanding how PTSD presents in young men is an important area to be aware of, especially now.

What is PTSD?

When something disturbing or unsettling happens, it’s normal to be a little upset for a while. When you experience a traumatic event or circumstance and your negative feelings last a month or longer, you may have PTSD. The anxiety disorder may not become apparent immediately after the trauma. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months to experience the symptoms of PTSD.

Traumatic Events

As a young man, you may experience a traumatic event or live through a traumatic circumstance in your life. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll develop the anxiety disorder, these are the types of experiences that can cause PTSD. Your fear in such a situation will trigger a “fight or flight” response, which is the natural way your body protects you in times of danger. You will probably also experience a heightened alertness, increased blood pressure, and a faster heart rate and breathing rate.

PTSD symptoms are longer lasting and more severe, in some cases. Those symptoms can be caused by an event that is life threatening such as a bad car accident or a violent assault. If you’ve been in a physical fight with someone else, that can be a traumatic event. You may have lived through a natural disaster that was devastating such as a flood or hurricane. The COVID-19 pandemic, with its uncertainty, fear, and isolation, has been a traumatic event for many young men.

You may also experience trauma when the situation is not necessarily life threatening to you. For example, you may have unexpectedly lost a loved one such as a grandparent or parent. You may have witnessed a car accident or someone else’s severe injury, rather than experiencing it firsthand. This can also be a traumatic event for you.

PTSD Emerging in Young Adults

While anyone can experience a traumatic event and subsequent PTSD onset at any age, the typical onset age for PTSD is in early adulthood. PTSD presents in young men in their 20s, with a median onset age of 23. Part of the reason for this may be that older adults do not put themselves in situations where they may experience trauma as much as young adults may do. Young men tend to be more active, join the military in early adulthood, and are less experienced with dealing with emotional and physical stress.

Do I Have PTSD?

After experiencing a traumatic event or circumstance in your life, you may have certain symptoms that can lead you to think you may have PTSD. If these symptoms last more than four weeks, you should consult with a healthcare professional to seek out treatment for your mental health. PTSD presents in young men in a number of ways. You may experience some or all of these symptoms, which are categorized into different types.

Re-experiencing symptoms. These occur when something reminds you or the trauma you experienced and you then feel that fear all over again. You might have flashbacks or nightmares as well as frightening thoughts.

Avoidance symptoms. You might try to avoid the people or situations that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You stay away from places or objects that remind you of what happened. If you were in a bad car accident, for example, you may not want to drive again.

Arousal and reactivity symptoms. You may be jittery or constantly on the lookout for danger. You can be easily startled, feeling on edge, and you can have trouble sleeping. You may also find that you have angry outbursts.

Cognition and mood symptoms. These are negative changes in your feelings and beliefs. You might start to develop negative thoughts about the world and about yourself. You feel guilty or are blaming yourself for what happened. You have trouble concentrating and no longer enjoy the things that used to interest you. In addition, you may have trouble remembering the important details of the traumatic event itself.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

As a young man, if you are experiencing PTSD symptoms, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. Asking for help is a sign of strength. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and 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.

Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

Some mental health conditions are thought to be more prevalent in women. However, men can be just as challenged with the struggles of mental illness. Given the stigma associated with mental health conditions, men are less likely to acknowledge their issues and to seek treatment. Borderline personality disorder in men is a condition that needs more attention, particularly for those men needing help with its impact on their lives.

Difficulty Regulating Emotion

When an individual has difficulties regulating their emotions, they may be diagnosed with a condition known as borderline personality disorder. Those who experience this condition will feel their emotions intensely for long periods of time. It is usually more difficult for them to return to a stable baseline after they’ve gone through an emotionally triggering event.

The inability to regulate emotion can lead to poor self-image, difficult relationships, impulsiveness, and an intensely emotional response to stressors. When a person struggles with self-regulation, they can also engage in dangerous behaviors, including self-harm.

Misdiagnosed in Men

About 1.4% of adults in the US experience borderline personality disorder. Almost three-fourths of those diagnosed are women. However, research suggests that men may be equally affected by the condition but are often misdiagnosed with other mental health conditions such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), conduct disorder, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) suggests that, rather than looking at each symptom separately in a man, the key may be to look at the collection of symptoms as a whole as well as the intensity of the emotions he experiences.

Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

Borderline personality disorder in men may manifest itself in the following symptoms, which are considered red flags to look for by NAMI.

Numerous and frequent relationships, often close together. A man with borderline personality disorder will experience a fear of abandonment and, as a result, refuse to commit to a romantic relationship. He may have multiple relationships, close together, that end after an argument or when he scares his partner away with a quick temper and possible physical aggression. He will have issues with controlling his emotions which often results in a quick ending to the relationship. He will then move on to a new relationship relatively quickly.

Behaviors and attitudes filled with drama. Women are usually thought of as being dramatic, but men can be so as well. Their drama will look a little different, though. A man with borderline personality disorder will have fluctuating emotions that can range from respect and idealizing someone to becoming emotionally detached and resentful. This drama can also affect a man’s frequent and turbulent romantic relationships.

Thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that are constantly up and down. A man with borderline personality disorder can change quickly from being warm and loving to being cold and distant, even angry and hostile. He can exhibit a stable and consistent pattern of behavior for a while and then suddenly change into what may seem like a completely different person.

Behaviors that seem designed to draw attention. Men with borderline personality disorder seem to want attention. They will engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as cutting, and then draw attention to the fact that they have done so. They may exhibit a loud attitude, make accusations of being unloved and abandoned, or be aggressive in an effort to gain attention. Other risky behaviors can be unprotected sex, fathering children with different women, and making threats to keep everyone afraid of him.

Dependency and co-dependency. An individual’s fear of abandonment can make it difficult for him to maintain a healthy, safe, and satisfying relationship. In contrast, he may engage in a dependent or co-dependent relationship with someone who relies on him, emotionally and psychologically. The relationship is dependent on his partner, who may be just as psychologically and emotionally unstable as the man with borderline personality disorder.

Manipulating loved ones with suicide threats or attempts. In an effort to manipulate a loved one or to convince them that he is lovable, a man with borderline personality disorder may threaten suicide. For example, a man who becomes jealous of his wife talking to another man may threaten suicide if she does not stop talking to him.

Suicidal thoughts that alleviate the pain. Some men will seriously consider suicide when the symptoms of their mental health condition cause difficulties in their life. Their pain and their fear of abandonment is so intensified that their suicidal thoughts may temporarily comfort them.  

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

When you are experiencing the symptoms of a mental health condition such as borderline personality disorder, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. Asking for help is a sign of strength. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. 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.

Signs of Depression in Men | Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. For men, especially, it is critically important to understand how mental health can impact your life. Recognizing the signs of depression in men, which can be very different from those in women, can mean the difference to your health and well-being.

Not a Sign of Weakness

One of the most important aspects of mental health to understand is that having depression and seeking treatment for the condition is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes courage to reach out and get help when you are experiencing the signs of depression. Stigma can keep you from making the effort to see your symptoms for what they truly are and in light of how they are impacting your life.

A Leading Cause of Death

Depression and suicide are ranked among the leading causes of death in men. Six million men in the US are affected by the mental health condition every year. Men die by suicide at a rate four times higher than women. Men often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms of depression. Consequently, they are more likely to die from alcohol-related causes than women and are two to three times more likely to misuse drugs than women.

Signs and Symptoms in Men

Depression affects a large number of men, but they are typically less likely to recognize or seek treatment for their depression. They usually do not want to talk about it at all. Their symptoms may manifest in very different ways from symptoms that women may experience. While women may appear sad, men often seem angry, aggressive, or irritable. In fact, the signs of depression in men are often mistaken for other issues, another reason the mental health condition usually goes untreated.

Other common signs of depression in men, which might “mask” the condition itself, include:

  • Feeling “on edge,” anxious, or restless
  • Problems with sexual desire and performance or engaging in risky sexual behavior
  • Loss of interest in work or in activities that were once enjoyable
  • An inability to concentrate or remember details
  • Changes in eating habits such as overeating or not eating
  • Physical pains, including headaches and digestive issues
  • Withdrawing from friends or family members
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • An increased use and misuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.

While women who are experiencing depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to complete the act and die by suicide as they tend to use more lethal methods in their attempts.

Risk Factors

One of the most common mental disorders in the US, depression is caused by a combination of risk factors that can include:

  • Environmental stress such as financial issues, major life changes, problems at work, loss of a loved one, or a difficult relationship. In fact, any significantly stressful situation they encounter in their daily lives may trigger the mental health condition in men.
  • Genetic factors for those men who have a family history of depression.
  • Serious illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. While the illness itself may cause depression, medications taken for the condition may also involve side effects that cause or worsen depression in men.

Real Men Do Ask for Help

Ignoring depression won’t make the symptoms go away. The mental health condition could lead to other serious issues, such as drug or alcohol abuse. Trying to battle it on your own is never a good plan. You need someone who understands what you are going through and who can offer the treatment options you need to be healthier, mentally and physically. In fact, you will be making a smart decision by reaching out for help when you recognize the signs of depression.

Help for Men at PACE

Asking for help is a sign of strength. When you need help with your mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, 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 substance use issues. 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.

Why Young Men Should Seek Counseling

April is Counseling Awareness Month. While men can be hesitant to seek out counseling, perhaps because of a perceived stigma around asking for help, therapy sessions can be very helpful in addressing issues with addiction or mental health. Young men should seek counseling to discover the many ways it can benefit them so they can get the help they need.

Why Men Avoid Counseling

Many people may be hesitant to seek help for mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, but researchers have found that young men are the least likely of all demographics to seek professional help. In fact, these individuals typically have a greater need for psychological intervention, as the onset of mental illness usually occurs in early adulthood. Suicide rates are also high among young men between the age of 15 and 24.

Young men may experience a sense of embarrassment, discomfort, shame, or even fear around asking for help with mental health issues. The stigma of mental illness, as well as challenges in managing and communicating their distress, can catch young men in a cycle of avoidance. They often wait until they are severely distressed before they reach out for help.

In addition, men can feel that they will lose control if they disclose personal information in a counseling session, as they tend to have a greater need for confidentiality. When these men do not get the help they need, however, they may turn to alternative coping mechanisms, including alcohol and drugs, in an attempt to relieve their emotional and physical pain.

Mental Health Issues

The five most common mental health issues that can be indications that young men should seek counseling are anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia, and eating disorders.

  • Anxiety: Over 3 million adult men are diagnosed with panic disorders or phobias every year.
  • Depression: Over 6 million men suffer from depression every year.
  • Bipolar disorder: Approximately 2.3 million Americans are diagnosed with bipolar disorder each year, and about half of those are men. This disorder affects young men, especially, with onset occurring between the ages of 16 and 25.
  • Psychosis and schizophrenia: Out of the 3.5 million adults in the US who are diagnosed with schizophrenia, 90% of those who are diagnosed before age 30 are men.
  • Eating disorders: Men account for 10% of those individuals with anorexia or bulimia and 35% of those with binge-eating disorders.

Men and Mental Health Symptoms

Men tend to experience depression and other mental health issues differently than women. Men who suffer from depression may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Taking physical risks, being more aggressive in activities such as driving, and having unsafe sex
  • Losing interest in their job
  • Experiencing problems with sleeping
  • Being more irritable than usual
  • Experiencing physical pain with headaches or digestive issues
  • Becoming more controlling, abusive, or violent
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with their symptoms of depression.

How Counseling Can Help

Young men should seek counseling because ignoring mental health issues such as depression or anxiety won’t make them go away. Men may tend to think that talking cannot help their situation. By participating in counseling, though, they will find that issues that are weighing heavily on them mentally will become less stressful as they talk about them more openly. Talk therapy, in particular, has been found to be an effective treatment for depression and can also help in developing new coping skills.

Therapy on an individual basis can help reassure men of the confidentiality of their discussions, even though all counseling sessions are confidential by nature. Individual therapy can give young men the safe space they need to explore their thoughts, concerns, and feelings. Young men who seek counseling will find that they become more self-aware and are able to improve the quality of their mental and physical health and improve the quality of their life.

Help for Young Men at PACE

Asking for help is a sign of strength. When you need help with your mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, 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 substance use issues. 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.

Volatile Nitrites, Nitrous Oxide & Solvents: Raising Awareness About Inhalants

National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week is March 22-28. Unlike equally dangerous illegal drugs, inhalants are substances that are typically found in most households. Understanding the facts about inhalants is important for the person addicted to them as well as for their friends and family. Raising awareness about inhalants, including volatile nitrites, nitrous oxide, and solvents, can help save a life.

What are Inhalants?

Inhalants are found in many common household products. They contain volatile substances that produce chemical vapors that, when inhaled, can induce a mind-altering effect. The term inhalant is used to describe substances that are rarely taken by any other route, such as in liquid or pill form. There are four basic categories of inhalants, including volatile solvents, aerosols, nitrites, and gases, which describe the forms in which they are most often found in household, medical, and industrial products.

When a Household Product Becomes an Inhalant

An individual who abuses inhalants may take advantage of any available product. However, some users will go out of their way to get hold of their favorite inhalant. Household products that contain commonly abused inhalants in the four general categories include:

Volatile solvents – liquids that become gas at room temperature. These are typically found in nail polish remover, paint thinner, gasoline, contact cement, and some art or office supplies such as correction fluid, glue, and felt-tip marker fluid.

Aerosols – substances under pressure that are released as a fine spray. These include hair spray, deodorant spray, vegetable oil sprays, and spray paint.

Gases – found in household, commercial, and medical products. These inhalants include refrigerant gases, butane lighters, propane tanks, and anesthesia such as nitrous oxide, ether, and chloroform.

Nitrites – sold in small brown bottles, these inhalants include organic nitrites such as amyl, butyl, and cyclohexyl nitrites; amyl nitrite, sometimes used to diagnose heart problems; and nitrites that are now banned but are still found in small bottles labeled “video head cleaner” or “liquid aroma.”

How Do Inhalants Work?

When these chemicals are inhaled, they are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream through the lungs and then distributed to the brain and other organs throughout the body. Within just a few seconds, the person who has inhaled the substance will experience intoxication and other effects similar to those produced by alcohol. They might experience an inability to coordinate their movements, slurred speech, a sense of euphoria, and dizziness, as well as lightheadedness, delusions, and hallucinations.

The intoxication from inhalants only lasts a few minutes, so the individual will typically seek to prolong the high by inhaling repeatedly over just a few hours’ time, a practice that is very dangerous. With each successive inhalation, the individual’s chances increase of suffering a loss of consciousness and even death.

Inhaling can be done through a variety of methods, including inhaling the vapors directly from open containers or from rags that have been soaked in the chemical substance. A method known as bagging involves inhaling substances sprayed or deposited inside a paper or plastic bag. The individual may also inhale from balloons filled with nitrous oxide or from devices known as snappers and poppers in which inhalants are sold.

Side Effects and Risks

The risks of inhaling nitrites, nitrous oxide, solvents, and other chemical substances can be devastating. A recent study that included over 35,000 inhalant abuse cases found that most abusers were in their teens, although the ages ranged from 6 to over 50. Boys accounted for almost three-fourths of the cases. Most of the patients in the study were being treated in an emergency room. Out of the study participants, 208 died and more than 1,000 experienced life-threatening or permanent disabling illnesses.

Side effects associated with inhalants include strong hallucinations and delusions, dizziness, impaired judgment, belligerence, and apathy. Those who abuse inhalants over the long term experience muscle weakness, lack of coordination, irritability, weight loss, inattentiveness, and depression. In addition, chronic use of inhalants can cause serious and often irreversible damage to the liver, lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain.

Early Identification and Intervention

Severe risks, including death, can occur with just one incident of inhaling these chemical substances. It is critical to identify the behavior and get help for the addiction as soon as possible, before it causes serious health issues. An awareness about inhalants includes knowing the following signs that could mean a friend or loved one is abusing a chemical substance:

  • Hidden empty spray paint or solvent containers, and chemical-soaked rags or clothing
  • Chemical odors on breath or clothing
  • Paint or other stains on face, hands, or clothes
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Slurred speech
  • Drunk or disoriented appearance
  • Inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, and depression.

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, including an addiction to inhaling chemical substances, 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.

The Truth About Self-Harm Among Young Men

Although self-harm behaviors are typically associated with girls and young women, boys and young men also experience self-injury in significant numbers. In fact, the effects can be even more devastating in males. The truth about self-harm among young men is important to uncover, particularly during Self-Harm Awareness Month.

Emotional Distress in Young Adult Men

Self-harm is not a mental illness itself, but self-harm behaviors indicate a need for better coping skills. These behaviors can include cutting, burning, or hair pulling. When someone hurts themselves on purpose, it is a sign of emotional distress. Self-harm may be associated with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The incidence of self-harm is more prevalent in teenagers and young adults, although anyone of any age can engage in self-injury. People at the highest risk are those who have experienced neglect, abuse, or trauma.

Self-Harm Among Young Men

The image of cutting or other self-harm behaviors tends to be associated with young white females. However, between 35 and 50 percent of self-injurers are male. The number has been difficult to pinpoint because male self-injuries are probably underreported or misrepresented. While females are more likely to engage in cutting, males are more prone to bruise themselves, have others hurt them, or hurt themselves while using drugs or alcohol.

The reasons behind the behaviors differ somewhat between females and males also. Research has found that self-injury is associated with depression and anxiety in similar ways for both males and females. Differences lie in areas such as spirituality concerns, borderline personality disorder symptoms, drug use, and sexual assault, which are primarily associated with females, and substance use disorder, associated more with males.

Research has also found an association between self-harm behaviors and physical aggression among males. Females who engage in self-harm behaviors may exhibit anger, hostility, and verbal aggression, but not necessarily physical aggression.

Self-Harm and Suicide

The act of self-harm is not always a suicide attempt, but the actions and mental status of young men who engage in these behaviors may be a strong predictor of later suicide attempts. One study of 1,466 students at colleges in the US over a three-year period found that those individuals who self-injured at the beginning of the study and who did not report suicidal thoughts or plans at the time, but then engaged in 20 or more self-injuring behaviors, were 3.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide by the end of the study.

Men commit suicide at higher rates than women. In 2018, the suicide rate among men was 3.7 times higher than among women. The total suicide rate in the US has increased 35% from 1999 to 2018.

Men and Treatment for Self-Harm

One of the reasons that self-harm may be more typically identified with women than with men is that men are less willing to report their behavior or to seek treatment for it. The truth about self-harm among young men is that treatment is critical to address their mental health and physical health, to help them develop healthier coping skills, and to reduce the likelihood of suicide.

Research studies regarding self-harm and gender have been limited, as few have examined clinical populations. Females significantly outnumber males in clinical populations, as males feel more of a stigma around seeking mental health treatment in general and treatment for self-harm in particular.

In clinical studies, it has been found that females report an earlier age of onset than males, but males report higher self-injury frequency each day with greater pain intensity. Men have also reported a lower intensity of emotions before and after they self-harm.

Help for Young Men at PACE

Contrary to what many people may believe, asking for help is actually a sign of strength. If you have been engaging in self-harm behaviors, particularly if you are also dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, 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 substance use issues. 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.

Receiving a Mental Health Diagnosis in Adulthood

You or your loved ones may have recognized the symptoms of a mental health concern, so you made the right choice by seeking a diagnosis for your struggles. Now you need to consider the impact of receiving a mental health diagnosis in adulthood, including the range of emotions you might be experiencing now. Understanding how mental health affects men, as well as understanding how to overcome the stigma of seeking treatment, is critical for you. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone and help is available.

Diagnosis in Adulthood

The onset of most mental health disorders usually happens during the first three decades of life. Mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders, along with psychotic disorders, often emerge during adolescence and early adulthood; however, effective treatment is usually not sought until many years later. Intervention and treatment during the early stages of the mental health disorder may help reduce the severity and/or the persistence of the primary disorder and help prevent secondary disorders that may result.

Mental Health Stigmas for Men

Although diagnosis and treatment is critical for mental health in adulthood, many men do not seek help. There is a stigma attached to a mental health diagnosis and men tend to feel that stigma even more than women. A number of studies have been done on the effects of receiving a mental health diagnosis for men. Although men experience a higher rate of suicide, they are much less likely to seek out treatment for mental health or substance use disorders.

The World Health Organization, in a 2018 report, emphasized that cultural stigma around mental health issues is one of the chief obstacles for people admitting they are struggling and for them to seek help. In a separate study of 360 respondents with direct experience with depression or suicidal thoughts, published in the Community Mental Health Journal, more males than females said they would be embarrassed to seek formal treatment for their depression.

Major Mental Health Disorders Affecting Men

Seeking treatment after receiving a mental health diagnosis in adulthood is critical, for both mental health and physical health in men. The Mental Health Association (MHA) has identified five major mental health problems affecting men, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Psychosis and Schizophrenia
  • Eating Disorders

In addition, researchers found that the suicide rate among men in the US is about four times higher than that for women. Although women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to succeed in their attempts. Almost 31% of men have suffered from a period of depression at some point in their life. At least 9% of men in the US have feelings of depression or anxiety daily. One in three men have taken medication because of their feelings. Only one in four have spoken to a mental health professional.

Mental Health’s Effects on Adults

The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) states that 1 in 5 adults experienced a mental illness in 2019, with 1 in 20 experiencing a serious mental illness. Mental health issues in adults can create other issues, such as with physical health, career and family, and substance use.

Individuals diagnosed with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. The rate of unemployment is higher among adults in the US who have mental illness, as compared to those who do not. Of those adults who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, 18.4% also experience a substance use disorder.

Other findings include the fact that alcohol dependence is twice as high in men than in women. Also, men are more than three times as likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorders than women. When a man develops a substance use disorder and has received a mental health diagnosis, the diagnosis is referred to as co-occurring disorders. Overcoming the stigma of mental health and substance use treatment is critically important for those with this dual diagnosis.

Dual Diagnosis Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use 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.