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  • Causes of Self-Image Issues

  • There is no one specific reason for why an individual develops a negative self-image. It varies by individual and there are usually a number of factors working in combination with one another.

    General reasons that could contribute to self-image issues

    • Genetic vulnerabilities: Individuals who are genetically predisposed to certain psychiatric disturbances such as depression and anxiety disorders may be at greater risk.

    • Associations with other conditions: Features of clinical depression include feelings of worthlessness, guilt, failure and hopelessness. Similarly, individuals with anxiety disorders may struggle with excessive worries about what others think, along with perfectionism. When these disorders are treated, some of these self-image problems may abate. Individuals with body image problems may also be more likely to develop co-occurring depressive and anxiety disorders, and, conversely, those with a personal or family history of mood and anxiety disorders may be at a greater risk of developing body-image related disorders such as eating disorders or body dysmorphic disorder.

    • Media and peer culture influence: There has been a great deal written about the negative influence of the media and peer culture on vulnerable teens. These constant flashbulb images of "perfection" can make individuals believe that this unrealistic image is attainable and the norm. However, this exposure by itself is probably not enough to cause a serious psychiatric disorder, since most teens are exposed to media and peer influences but do not develop serious disorders.

    • Bullying: Teens who are bullied or picked on become more vulnerable to internalizing what they are hearing, and in turn, feel badly about themselves.

    • Past Abuse: A history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, within or outside of the family, can contribute to feelings of low self-worth.