It has been known for a long time now that people with a poor body image suffer from low self-esteem, depression, eating disorders and many more conditions. Now, there is new evidence to show that poor body image can also lead to the consumption and even abuse of alcohol and drugs.
A new study published in the Journal of Child Adolescent Substance Abuse sought to compare self image and destructive behavior in American teens. The study reports a possible increase in the rate of drug and alcohol consumption in people with a poor body image.
In the study, females who considered themselves too fat scored a higher likelihood of smoking and drinking. For the men, those who found themselves too skinny were likely to engage in smoking, while those who saw themselves too fat tended to engage in binge drinking. The victims may not even realize these issues, but the authors of the study fear that perceived body image negatively affecting youths’ intake of alcohol and drugs could lead them to greater health problems. And quite often, these young people abuse these substances without caring whether it harms their health or not.
The researchers note that body image languages have a huge impact on teens. They therefore call on parents to ensure that their children appreciate their body images and see themselves as good enough no matter how they may look. The researchers note that the more positively children see themselves; the less likely they are to let their body image lead them to alcohol and drug consumption.
As of now, the researchers are calling on activists and lawmakers to push for treatment of substance abuse instead of the rather ineffective prison terms. They hope that with this new discovery, they can find enough arguments to convince lawmakers that those who abuse drugs and alcohol (especially as a result of a poor body image) need help dealing with the situation, rather than punishment.