How Social Media Affects Teens Body Image

how social media affects teens body image

Being a teenager is notoriously difficult, especially today. Teenagers are in the midst of vast changes, both physically and mentally, are developing rapidly during those years. Because of this, they are also susceptible at this age. External influences and factors can cause a variety of mental health issues if not handled properly.

What is Body Image? 

Body image is a general term for how we see ourselves in regards to features like weight, height, skin tone, build, facial features, and more. People can get ideas of what a body should look like from their peers or outside media, such as magazines, television, and social media. People who don’t internalize these outside messages of body image tend to have a more positive body image of themselves. However, people who do internalize those messages of what their body “should” look like tend to have a more negative body image

How Social Media Affects Body Image

Social media does not cause a negative body image in and of itself. For example, people who use social media to consume content exclusively from family members don’t seem to have an altered body image. However, if your teen is consuming certain content, they may be at risk of negative body image. Social media can increase the risk for negative body image in the following ways: 

  • Influencers: Influencers are people hand-picked by companies to market their products or messages. Oftentimes, influencers are attractive, and thus pick up a large following. Teens are very likely to engage in content created by influencers. Unfortunately, people who consume content from attractive peers are found to have higher rates of negative body image. 
  • Thin-ideal: Messages that promote and portray the thin-ideal are also associated with developing negative body image because it promotes unrealistic expectations. On the other hand, those who consume content more related to health and fitness on social media tend to have more positive body image as these results are more realistic and attainable. 
  • Photo alterations: Photo alterations through filters, photo editing apps, and photoshop tend to continue to permeate the thin-ideal message and make it much easier for individuals to alter their appearance to be more attractive. This makes it even more common for teens to come into contact with social media content that is likely to negatively impact their body image. 

Body Image and Mental Health

Being aware of the way in which social media affects teens’ body image is imperative. Social media is more accessible than ever and has been found to be associated with negative body image. Negative body image has been associated with a higher risk of developing mental health conditions, such as depression and eating disorders. 

Depression is a serious issue for many teenagers but becomes more common every year. Read more here on signs your teenager is depressed and what to do if they are depressed. 

Unsure of how to talk with your teen about their social media use? Learn more here

How Thrive Treatment Can Help

Thrive Treatment offers comprehensive services to clients experiencing mental health or substance use concerns. We have expert clinicians available that provide case management services, individual therapy, group therapy, and incorporation of family support. Each client has an individualized treatment plan unique to their recovery. We offer different levels of care, including partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, sober living houses, and aftercare. Contact us today to find out how we can help you through your recovery!

Separating Behaviors From Thoughts

Separating Behaviors From Thoughts

Ever wondered why we do the things we do? If so, you aren’t alone. Answering the question of why we do what we do has been the unending goal of psychologists, scientists, philosophers, and humans as a whole for centuries. Some say everything we do is to satisfy basic human needs. Others say this can’t be the case, because there’s no clear definition of what exactly constitutes a human need. Then there’s the question of– as is the case with addiction recovery clients in dual diagnosis treatment plans– how our thoughts actually translate to actions. When we have a mental illness, what thoughts are ours, and what thoughts stem from the dysregulation or dysfunction of the illness– and who or what decides which thoughts are translated into which actions?

Dr. Miki Kashtan of PsychologyToday has an interesting theory that works really well here. She says “When we instantly translate feelings into actions, we sidestep any understanding of what we truly want. Because of the strength with which our feelings “command” action, we don’t have the opportunity to use feelings as what I believe they are designed for, which is to be sources of information.”

Oftentimes, we act impulsively and immediately translate our feelings into actions. Sometimes, we do this so quickly that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. When we put feet to our thoughts instantaneously, as Kashtan suggests, we forego our ability to understand our feelings and comprehend what they really mean.

In treatment, we learn how to separate our addictive behaviors from the thoughts that cause them. This helps us dive down to the root of the issues that may have led to our addiction in the first place. One of the modalities used to do this is referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

According to its technical definition, “Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving.” In a nutshell, it’s a form of therapy that focuses on helping us assess the thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes that cause us to behave the way we do. By changing our thoughts and attitudes, we can also change the behavior tied to them.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a buzz term in many circles, but it’s not so much the modality that makes the difference, as the process behind it. When we’re able to take a hard look at the driving forces behind why we do what we do, we gain more control over ourselves, and our reactions to stressors as well as other outside influences. Even when we’re not in the most ideal situations or we can’t control what’s around us, we’re always able to control our responses to our situations. Even though we may have negative thoughts about what’s going on in our lives, CBT helps us make sure those negative thoughts don’t encourage us to do something rash or regrettable. The skill sets we develop through cognitive behavioral therapy help us create balance between our thoughts, our feelings, and the way we react to life.

Why is it important to separate behaviors from thoughts?

When we separate our behaviors from our thoughts, we gain more understanding as to why we react the way we react to life. When we’re addicted, there never seems to be rhyme or reason behind why we’re acting the way we’re acting- both under the influence of drugs and in between moments of intoxication.

How does CBT tie into dual diagnosis treatment?

For those of us going through dual diagnosis treatment, CBT can be even more helpful. In fact, the concept of cognitive behavioral therapy was first created by psychiatrist Aaron Beck upon realizing that his patients seemed to talk to themselves. His theory– that we all have these “automatic thoughts” that pop up in our heads and influence our behaviors– corresponds with the idea of treating multiple illnesses holistically, as is the case with dual diagnosis treatment. Whether dual diagnosis treatment or any other form of treatment, the process of separating our thoughts from our behaviors in order to better understand them is a process that can only be good for us. As we grow throughout our recovery journey, we’ll find that the strategies we learn to separate thoughts and behaviors can be used anytime, anywhere, and in any situation.

Thrive Treatment℠ of Santa Monica, California is an outpatient treatment facility that helps our clients learn how to assess their thoughts in order to change their behaviors. Through modalities that build confidence and independence, we also help our clients conquer the self-defeating thoughts that keep us down. With over thirty years of combined experience, we have what it takes to help you defeat addiction for good. Call us at (888) 975-8474 to get started today.

Choosing Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Men

Choosing Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Men


To choose a dual diagnosis treatment plan is to look at two things first: the community which the facility offers, and the lifestyle that’s promoted at the facility. The way we learn to live and the peers and colleagues we meet in the addiction treatment facility are two of the biggest factors in just how effective our treatment process will be. We’re likely always going to be around our peers, and the addiction recovery community will be our first line of support even after we graduate from treatment. The community fostered at a dual diagnosis treatment facility has to be one that welcomes a young man and makes him feel safe, valued, and comfortable. As for the lifestyle supported by the treatment center, young men with a dual diagnosis will no doubt need structure, attention, and patience. Overcoming the powerful stronghold of addiction is no easy task, and learning to effectively cope with another mental illness at the same time requires a lot of dedication and commitment from both the client and the staff members they work with.

When we choose lifestyle and community over simply examining clinical qualities, we’re setting our young men up to prosper even after they leave the treatment facility. While clinically-focused programs are important and helpful, it’s the way a young man learns to live his life, coupled with the people he comes to trust and regard as friends, mentors, and confidants that will help him long after he graduates and starts living life on his own.

The accolades of the clinical program are secondary when it comes to finding a dual diagnosis treatment plan that will work. At the end of the day, it’s not just clinical testing and treatments that will make the difference in a young man’s life. It’s the way he learned to live.

Thrive Treatment℠ of Santa Monica, California is an outpatient addiction treatment center that provides dual diagnosis treatment options for clients that need guidance on how to deal with more than one mental illness. We focus on holistic treatment that’s less about doping our clients up or inhibiting their independence, and more about helping them foster a lifestyle that will make them better, stronger, more confident men. Call us at (888) 975-8474 to see how we can help you today.

The Science of Prayer

The Science of Prayer


Prayer is perhaps the most powerful vessel of our time. Whether we’re religious or not, there’s something calming and reassuring about having someone or something to confide in when we need help– something to help give us guidance, or to simply help us feel better. Prayer can be a very powerful tool when it comes to both emotional sobriety and defeating addiction— mainly because it allows us to connect with and encourage ourselves when we need it most. Spirituality isn’t dead. It’s a large part of the addiction treatment experience.

The Study

In 2016, New York University undertook an arduous task: trying to find relevant science to back up the theory that prayer actually does work. They chose the Alcoholics Anonymous model to test, and in their conclusion confirmed what addiction treatment specialists have known for a long time– that prayer really does work in reducing the urge to use. The study, spearheaded by senior author Dr. Marc Galanter, took brain images of about twenty long term AA members that had reported no cravings within the weeks leading up to the testing. The brains were scanned before and after providing each individual with first a neutral newspaper article and then an AA prayer “promoting abstinence from alcohol” and showing pictures of various people drinking and using alcohol in an attempt to stimulate cravings. According to Galanter,  “[the] findings suggest[ed] that the experience of AA over the years had left these members with an innate ability to use the AA experience—prayer in this case―to minimize the effect of alcohol triggers in producing craving.”

In essence, reciting the prayer led to decreased cravings from everyone that recited it. While the individuals still had cravings, it was the prayer that helped them better manage them. According to Galanter, who’s also spent a significant amount of time studying emotional sobriety and spirituality in addiction treatment, previous studies have suggested that alcohol users that have reported a “spiritual awakening” in AA or other addiction treatment programs have also been about half as likely to report cravings even after leaving initial treatment.

The relation of prayer and emotional sobriety

Studies like the ones presented by New York University make a strong case for the intersection of spirituality and sobriety– and the consistent results agree with an assertion made by The Big Book that tells us addiction is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. Here, the spiritual malady concept indicates that once we overcome our spiritual illness, the mental and physical aspects of our addiction also straighten out.

In order to understand how emotional sobriety as a concept corresponds with prayer, it’s important to have a working definition as to just what emotional sobriety is. According to Psychology Today, emotional sobriety revolves around the general ability to feel our own feelings. It’s being one with ourselves, living in the present moment, and being mindful. It’s about balance, and learning how to cope with our emotions– both good and bad. In the vein of being one with ourselves, prayer often acts as a way for us to connect with ourselves presently, much like meditation. It also helps us find ways to cope with situations that we may have turned to substances before to deal with. The truth of the matter is that even though treatment helps us conquer addiction, we still have to conquer sobriety everyday, and it’s our ability to be emotionally sober that helps us do just that. As Bill W. says in The Big Book, “we members of AA may never again have to deal with drinking, but we do have to deal with sobriety every day. How do we do it? By learning – through practicing the Twelve Steps and through sharing at meetings – how to cope with problems that we looked to booze to solve back in our drinking days.”

When it comes to the science behind prayer, we need look no further than Bill W.’s assertion that prayer helps us examine ourselves internally, much like a surgeon examines his patient. “If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependency and its consequent unhealthy demand,” Bill W. says.

When we repeat prayers, as is often the case in addiction treatment programs like AA, our praying can also play a role that’s entirely different but just as effective– the role of constant reassurance. We all know the classic story of the little engine that could– that small train engine that made his way up the hill by nothing more than hard will and saying “I think I can.” Not only has science proven time and again that repeating ideas and concepts can help us remember them better– but science has also proven that words in and of themselves can have a powerful impact on our brains and spirits. By constantly motivating ourselves through prayer, we’re not just uttering a few words– we’re reassuring ourselves that our sobriety journey is possible.

Thrive Treatment℠ of Santa Monica, California is an outpatient treatment facility that helps our clients master the nuts and bolts of life in order to excel in the recovery process. We rely on the power of prayer, reassurance, and spirituality to treat addiction just as much as we rely on hardcore science and proven methods. When you begin the Thrive Treatment℠ experience, you’re welcomed into a family that has just one thing in mind: getting you better. Call us at (888) 975-8474 to get started today.