One problem, millions of Americans suffer from is a low body image. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, “Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind.’ (Body Image) There are many ways this problem can affect people some positive and some negative. While others may think a lower body image is not a big problem, low self- esteem can eventually lead to suicide in serious cases, this issue starts off with severe depression, this problem mainly affects kids in junior and high school just as much as it affects adults in their 30s and above.
In severe cases, a lower body image can lead to suicide or self-harm. Doctor Katherine A. Phillips, a medical professional in psychiatry and human behavior, says in her article (Suicidality in Body Dysmorphic Disorder) “Over the past century, patients with BDD have been described as being so distressed over their “ugliness” that they thought about, attempted, or committed suicide.” Phillips continues to explain the body dysmorphic disorder, a mental illness that pinpoints one’s flaws, this disorder can last up to a lifetime. Around 80% of individuals with BDD will experience extreme urges to kill themselves, and most will succeed. Often times patients go through cosmetic surgery as a solution, but the surgery can be costly and sometimes ineffective. The suicide rate for women who go through the surgery is almost doubled due to lower self-esteem, and depression. Because BDD can often go undiagnosed, people need to keep a lookout for others that have a low self-esteem issue.
The main focus of this this problem should be focused on junior high and high school students. Kids from the ages of 12 to 18 struggle with a lower body image based on what society tells them. Teenagers are often told that they are not good enough daily by social media, peers, tv and in some situations family. This pressure can overwhelms and makes kids hate themselves to the point of depression and suicide. When students get depressed they tend to not focus in school and work which affects others around them.
Dr. Kimberly Dennis, CEO/Medical Director Emeritus at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, says in her article (Body Image a Concern for Students of All Ages) “These pressures can take a toll on someone with a predisposition to emotional and behavioral conditions such as depression or an eating disorder. Social pressure may also have a negative impact on someone who never struggled before with body image or eating issues.” She explains the effects of eating disorders on students all across America and ways to get help.