Professor Nichola Rumsey from the University of the West of England’s centre for appearance research is responsible for carrying out research which has revealed that 90% of British women experience anxiety over their body image.
“It doesn’t wane”, she said, “many women in their 80s are still anxious about the way their bodies look, which can even affect their treatment in hospital when their health choices are influenced by aesthetics.”
Whilst recent research has focused on how anxiety relating to body image is a problem most prevalent among the younger generation, Rumsey’s research has revealed that contrary to popular belief these anxieties do not just dissipate as we get older.
Whilst we may not discuss our appearance as much when we get older, the anxieties are still there.
“At an age where most healthcare professionals focus on controlling pain and body functionality, many patients feel the way they look is as much of a concern, but isn’t a legitimate topic of conversation.” Said Rumsey.
Being used to looking a certain way throughout life can then mean that looking in the mirror and seeing a rapidly aging body can be very difficult, especially if visible conditions such as skin problems or arthritis are present.
Unfortunately, GPs are not trained to identify and treat such psychological issues, and thus they can often be dismissed without really being resolved fully – a catalyst for more serious problems developing.
If you or a loved are experiencing anxiety over your body image, then you must come forward and discuss you concerns with a qualified counsellor so that help can be sought.
To find out more about the issues discussed throughout, please visit our fact-sheets about low self-confidence and eating disorders. Alternatively, visit the homepage of this site and use the search tool to locate a qualified professional in your local area.
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