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Body Image And Teen Depression: How They Are Linked

body image and teen depression

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Becoming a teenager is a challenging transition for many. Not only are teens learning to navigate new social and academic responsibilities, but their bodies are also going through rapid changes, which can be difficult to adjust to. It is normal to feel awkward and have mixed feelings about these changes, which come at a time when the social pressure to fit in is often connected to one’s appearance. This added stress of dealing with body image issues affects boys and girls and is linked to depression in teens. 

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The Effect On Teens From Hollywood

Everyone knows that Hollywood is glamorous and alluring, at least on the surface. What many teenagers may not realize though, is that the images of perfect bodies that they are being inundated with are unobtainable for most people. Not only are the glossy pictures teens see in magazines are professionally edited, but celebrities and actors are paid to look a certain way and have a team of personal trainers, chefs, and stylists to assist them. 

Nevertheless, the standards set by television and Hollywood create unrealistic expectations for teens, who may feel devastated when they are unable to measure up. Body image issues have a negative impact on teens’ self-esteem, especially when they believe that they are supposed to look like the people they see in tv shows and movies.

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Social Media & Its Role In Teen Depression

Social media creates a never-ending race to nowhere, but teens can get caught up anyway, trying to keep up with trends, likes, memes, followers, and whatever else they feel is necessary to gain acceptance within their peer group. As a result of engaging with social media, teens can develop a negative body image, which creates unhealthy stress. 

Social media is a minefield for mental health issues. Teens are spending more time than ever on social media platforms, which are often unhealthy environments that create unrealistic physical standards for boys and girls. 

It’s easy to think that the images that celebrities and influencers post on social media are authentic, but that simply isn’t true. The reality is that many people use filters to enhance their photos and make themselves look flawless. Constantly comparing oneself to these images can lead to depression and anxiety, because it’s impossible to measure up to photos that are digitally manipulated. 

teen depression and body image

Poor Body Image Increases Risk For Depression And Anxiety

Teens need positive reinforcement and a positive self-image to feel happy and successful. Having a negative body image, on the other hand, takes a toll on a teen’s psyche. It’s an added stressor that can lead to depression and anxiety, as many teens who struggle with low self-esteem also struggle with negative self-talk. 

It’s a vicious cycle of feeling unhappy with the way you look and then putting yourself down for not being able to meet unreasonable expectations. Being unhappy with or trying to change your appearance from a place of low self-esteem can cause stress, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness. 

Treatments For Teen Depression

The teenage years are a vulnerable stage full of emotional ups and downs, but sometimes too much stress in teens can lead to anxiety and depression. There are several treatments available for teen depression, which will vary depending on the symptoms and what works best for each person and their unique circumstances. Untreated depression doesn’t go away and in some cases can get worse as time passes, increasing the risk of self-harm and suicide. Some depression treatment options and suggestions include: 

  • Anxiety and depression medication, prescribed by a psychiatrist 
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation 
  • Developing a positive body image 
  • Reducing time spent on social media 
  • Outpatient and partial inpatient treatment programs 
  • Counseling 

How We Can Help You

As caring and compassionate therapists and mental health professionals, we have years of experience treating teen depression. If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety or depression as a result of body image issues, contact us today. We offer a range of treatment options and pride ourselves on offering excellent, individualized care to our teen clients in safe, family-oriented settings. 



We would love to speak with you to get your teen on the path toward optimal wellness. Our complimentary assessment will provide you with a recommendation for the appropriate level of care for your Teen. Call us today to schedule a complimentary assessment 972-325-2633
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