The human body is regarded as one of the most complex systems on the face of the Earth and is essentially the structure of our entire being, constructed of numerous cells, tissues, and organs the body is something everchanging and impossible to fully understand. Considering the complexity of the human anatomy, I acknowledge the importance and positively agree that we should continue studying it no matter the circumstance. My name is Kendall Barksdale and I am a senior studying human services with a minor in psychology. After graduation I plan on returning to my hometown of Danville, Virginia and interning at Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services in order to work with several different types of human services professionals. I look forward to this experience and hope that I can incorporate my knowledge of the body and bodylore into the field one day. I feel as though the body in the human services field plays a much larger role than most people even realize. In relation to my major, I am particularly interested in substance abuse and full-heartedly believe that bodylore can tie into drug addiction and other addictive behaviors. Unfortunately, I feel as though the body does not receive the attention it deserves in this field and reason that if professionals were to make more of an effort to conduct studies it would then lead to a greater sense of understanding.

I believe that a major stumbling block to studying the body in the human services field is professionals normally study addiction from a psychological perspective. The concept of studying the body is somewhat of an abstract concept, rarely are studies conducted that observe how one’s body and self-image can lead to their addictive behavior. Contrary to belief, there is evidence that links physical appearance with mental health; for example, we see this in diseases such as body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD which is identified as a mental illness that causes an obsessive focus on bodily flaws. Whether these flaws are real or imaginary people will spend multiple hours of their day trying to fix their appearance. BDD negatively impacts an individual’s mental health causing symptoms such as anxiety,compulsive behavior, and depression which can become a trigger for drug use. Drugs are a common resource individuals use to cope with this chronic stressor but we also see people cope by altering their eating habits. Whether it’s under-eating or overeating, an individual will do anything in order to modify their body to fit whatever standard they deem acceptable. Although we cannot necessarily measure body image or body dissatisfaction that does not mean it does have an affect on behavior.

The reason there needs to be more emphasis on bodylore primarily in the substance abuse field of human services is because recovery from addictive behavior is an ongoing process. Addiction is something that no one can fully recover from, that’s why we see individuals attend community based programs such as Overeaters Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The point of these programs is for the members to meet and help one another abstain from participating in addictive behaviors and discuss various ways to cope with their addiction. If more bodylore concepts are used by mental health agencies and community based programs then it would make the road of recovery much smoother. The idea of using the methodology of bodylore in the human services field may be seen as unnecessary, and could ultimately improve the practices which is great for the clients in need of assistance. 

References

Grant, J. E., Menard, W., Pagano, M. E., Fay, C., & Phillips, K. A. (2005). Substance use disorders in individuals with body dysmorphic disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 66(3), 309.

Myers, A., & Rosen, J. C. (1999). Obesity stigmatization and coping: relation to mental health symptoms, body image, and self-esteem. International journal of obesity, 23(3), 221.

Russell‐Mayhew, S., von Ranson, K. M., & Masson, P. C. (2010). How does overeaters anonymous help its members? A qualitative analysis. European Eating Disorders Review: The Professional Journal of the Eating Disorders Association, 18(1), 33-42.


Kendall Barksdale is a twenty-one year old African American male from the city of Danville Virginia. He studies human services and minors in psychology. He is an extremely goofy individual and loves making people laugh and listening to all types of music. This semester he is taking two women studies courses in order to learn more about women in order to empower them as well as to learn more about his own cultural identity.