The Silent Battle: Men, Body Image, and Mental Health

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

For those who identify as male, body image issues aren’t often discussed, yet still impact a major part of the population. Body positivity campaigns exist for women, but what about for men?

Add in workout plans for “bulking up,” filters on social media, and Hollywood hero complexes, it can feel impossible for men to consider themselves masculine if they’re anything but what the media’s pushing at them.

How can we understand the short- and long-term effects of negative body image in men? Even more importantly, how can we decrease feelings of shame and inadequacy to help increase body acceptance in males?

Audience Questions

Roberto Olivardia, PhD, explains the impact of unaddressed image issues over a lifetime, shares ways to encourage body positivity in male populations, and answers audience questions about what we can do to improve self-esteem and reduce stigma and shame.

  • This is a topic that is rarely discussed. Can you tell us how you became a specialist in this area?
  • How prevalent are body image issues in those that identify as men, and why aren’t we talking about them?
  • When we talk about these issues, does this include eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, or both? Are there other conditions that we should be addressing?
  • Can we talk about the harmfulness of steroids and PED (performance enhancing drug) usage, including the jokes that perpetuate the conversations?
  • What can you tell us about the use of selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs)?
  • Is there any research on prevalence of body image issues in homosexual and heterosexual men?
  • We are all familiar with media imagery that historically has dictated a thin body as the ideal body for women, but what media imagery is promoted to boys and men about their bodies?
  • Do you think there are body image challenges for men over 40?
  • How can we encourage more body acceptance in male populations?
  • What suggestions do you have to help address these issues with college males? What kind of programming tends to be most successful, in your experience?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.

About Dr. Olivardia

Roberto Olivardia, PhD, conducts diagnostic evaluations at The Pavilion at McLean Hospital. He maintains a private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he specializes in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as issues that face students with learning disabilities. He is a nationally recognized expert in eating disorders and body image problems in boys and men.

Dr. Olivardia is co-author of The Adonis Complex. He specializes in evidence-based psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral treatment. He currently serves on the Professional Advisory Boards for Children and Adults With ADHD (CHADD), The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for ADDitude. He has spoken on numerous webinars and presents at many talks and conferences around the country.

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