How Stereotypes Influence Drug Use and Eating Disorders

How Stereotypes Influence Drug Use and Eating DisordersEveryday people are inundated with media—from television and computers to magazines and radio. This overload of media can play a major part in defining what is physically attractive, cool, acceptable and so on. For those looking to fit in or keep up with popular images, it can be easy to slip into drug use or develop an eating disorder. Some people who are already battling one of these problems may even delve deeper into these problems as they try to maintain an acceptable image.

Effects of Stereotypes on Drug Abuse and Eating Disorders

Many problems can develop in response to someone dealing with a stereotype. These social stigmas may cause distress in the following ways:

  • Physical image. Being overweight, too skinny, having acne, not feeling attractive and other issues can play into a person’s drug use and/or eating disorder. Those with eating disorders work control their weight without straying too far from the accepted image. People who are unsatisfied with their appearance may also use drugs to control their weight and/or block the pain they feel from fitting an accepted image.
  • Feelings of inadequacy. Feeling lesser than others mentally, physically or emotionally can make it easy to fall into a depressed state where healing seems impossible. Using drugs can distract those who feel isolated from others by making them less aware of their surroundings. Eating disorders can also provide a false sense of security, as controlling weight can feel empowering for someone who feels constantly without power.
  • Avoiding assumed stereotypes. Ironically, stereotypes work against themselves. For instance, a tall black man might grow tired of being asked if he plays basketball, so he finds another activity to excel at to avoid the stereotype that he should play sports. Working against stereotypes can be exhausting and upsetting, which causes the chances of substance abuse or eating disorders to increase as coping mechanisms.

Stereotypes usually damage those who have the slightest bit of insecurities. Instead, they act as the enemy forces, constantly looking for a way to bring the person down and give in to the inability to cope on a normal level.

Help with Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders

Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now to get the help you need to regain your confidence. Do not waste one more day feeling inadequate to others. Call us today and begin the treatment that can restore your life.