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Lido Wellness Center Blog

Mental Health In Sports: Why Is Depression Common In Athletes?

August 18, 2021

People all over the world watch professional athletes and admire their physical strength and commitment to their sport. We watch them break bones, tear muscles, and take hard falls. And everyone worries about the physical challenges of these injuries. However, the focus should be on depression and athletes and overall mental health in sports.  

2020 Olympics Highlight The Importance Of Mental Health In Sports

It’s not the medal-winning performances or world-record-breaking moments that highlight the 2020 Olympics. It is Simone Biles’s jaw-dropping decision to stop competing in the middle of the women’s gymnastic team event. 

As onlookers saw no physical injuries, fellow athletes rallied around her because they can relate to the mental challenges athletes face every day. People see athletes as role models and heroes, but they are human like everyone else. 

American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, while training for the Olympics, admitted to smoking legal cannabis to cope with the pain of losing her birth mother. The pressure of the sport alone is overwhelming. However, adding a traumatic event can be more than a person can handle. 

While anyone can develop depression or anxiety, specific risk factors increase the risk of athletes with mental health issues. These risk factors include:

  • Injury
  • Overtraining
  • Losing competitions
  • Concussion
  • Retirement
  • The pressure of being in the public eye

Aware of the challenges young athletes face, the International Olympic Committee increased mental health resources. They established the “Mentally Fit Helpline” and had psychiatrists and psychologists in the Olympic village. 

Student Athletes and Mental Health Issues

On top of the practice and the pressure from coaches and parents, student athletes have homework and social lives. This is a lot of pressure put on teens and young adults. On top of all this, injuries happen. Although injuries typically heal, they can increase depression in athletes.

Athletes with mental health issues may:

  • Develop an eating disorder
  • Deal with burnout
  • Struggle with anxiety and depression

Sports are known for the “walk it off” and “toughen up” mentality. As a result, athletes young and old have kept their mental struggles a secret. But, Simone Biles has shown athletes and non-athletes that mental health is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. 

How Common are Athletes with Mental Health Issues?

Mental health struggles among athletes are more common than most people think. The more present and former athletes come forward with their struggle with depression and anxiety, the more we discover the importance of mental health in sports. 

For example, 34 percent of current professional athletes struggle with depression or anxiety. In comparison, 26 percent of former professional athletes also struggle with anxiety or depression. Theathletes with mental health issues general population struggles at a much lower rate of around 20 percent.

College athletes with mental health issues may ignore symptoms of depression until they worsen. As many as 24 percent develop clinical depression. While moderate to severe depression affects over 6 percent. However, only about 10 percent seek help. 

Recognizing Athletes with Mental Health Issues

It is essential to watch for signs of depression and other mental health disorders in your friends, family, and, most importantly yourself. Unfortunately, one in four people experience mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. However, the added pressure of sports can increase the risk. 

Signs of depression in athletes include:

  • Poor performance
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Fatigue
  • Failing to recover after injury
  • Loss of interest in fun activities
  • Isolation/withdrawal
  • Change in personality
  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Problems concentrating
  • Alcohol abuse

Ignoring the signs and symptoms of depression in athletes can be life-threatening because untreated depression can lead to thoughts of suicide and self-harm. If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, it’s crucial to seek help immediately. 

Challenges Athletes Face That Leads To Depression

The pressure to do well in sports begins at a young age. And in the beginning, kids have fun and enjoy learning to play. But the pressure to have game-winning performances increases as kids hit high school. 

These pressures can lead to the following: 


While it is admirable to be dedicated and want to be perfect, we are all human, and the stress of perfectionism leads to more significant problems. Athletes often overtrain to improve their performance. However, this can lead to injuries. As a result, athletes may struggle with depression and feeling worthless.


Athletes often struggle with the fear of disappointing their families and coaches. They fear they are “not enough,” so they train harder. In addition, being in the public eye means everyone will see if they lose. 


Every athlete’s worst fear is getting injured. Injuries can mean weeks or months in physical therapy. The inability to play, the worry over getting better, and the challenges of recovery can increase depression in athletes. 

Treating Mental Health In Sports

Many sports teams and coaches understand the struggles their players go through. Not only the physical struggles of the sport, but they also recognize the mental challenges of competition. 

The NBA, for example, developed programs and initiatives in 2015 that provide players with comprehensive mental health services. Each year they continue improving and being recognized as a leader in mental health around the world. 

How Can Psychotherapy Help Athletes With Mental Health Issues

Psychotherapy or individual therapy is crucial to treating any mental health disorder. Sitting down one-on-one with a therapist helps work through personal and professional issues without judgment. 

Treating mental health in sports can help athletes:

  • Improve performance
  • Heal past mental or physical trauma
  • Build self-esteem
  • Increase motivation
  • Cope with injuries
  • Improve communication
  • Set realistic goals
  • Develop self-care routines

An athlete generally has an excellent support team. However, an athlete may have a struggle they are ashamed to tell their coach or family. For this reason, psychotherapy offers privacy and confidentiality.

Don’t Struggle Alone Let Lido Wellness Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression or any mental health issue, it is crucial to seek help. We can help you find a balance between being the best and still making self-care a priority. Contact us today to find out more. 


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Lido Wellness Center Blog

Conquer Body Image Issues, Reclaim Your Summer (and Beyond!)

August 11, 2021 | Chloe Horner, AMFT

When I was nine years old, I dreaded going to the beach in the summertime. Visiting my grandmother’s beautiful home in Laguna Beach should have been exciting, fun, and carefree for a young California girl, but to me, the beach meant one thing. Wearing a swimsuit. Unlike other girls my age, my swim attire was not a floral patterned one-piece or two-piece. No, I armored up for the beach in a long sleeve rash guard and board shorts bought from the little boy’s section at Target. This was the beginning of body image issues—a deeply personal topic. 

The Body Shame

It wasn’t a sunburn I was afraid of; it was my body. Somehow, at nine years old I had already internalized the message that my body was “bad” and “shameful.” I didn’t want strangers at the beach to see my body, but even more devastatingly, I didn’t want to see myself.

Sadly, internalizing body shame and body image issues at a young age is a pervasive issue in our

Body image issues at the beachculture. With the rise of social media and platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, kids are gaining access to content earlier and earlier that perpetuates body dissatisfaction through comparison to unrealistic images. According to researchers Kearney-Cooke and Tieger, by 13 years old 50% of girls in the United States report being unhappy with their body; by 17, this number grows to 80%.

But make no mistake, body image issues are not just a “teenage girl phase.” These insecurities and crippling shame can follow us well into adulthood, and without the proper intervention, can even worsen as our bodies change in the natural aging process. Furthermore, in recent years we have seen a massive uptick in both male-identifying and transgender people struggling to accept their bodies. Significantly, body dysmorphia is only 0.03% less prevalent in men than women, and a shocking 16% of trans people have been diagnosed with an eating disorder.

Witnessing Body Image Distress

As a therapist specializing in eating disorders and body dysmorphia, I have witnessed the devastating effects of body image distress on both mental health and physical health. Every summer, I notice a trend of increased anxiety in my patients. Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook are flooded with diet tips and workouts for attaining a “bikini body” before the weather heats up, leaving many of us triggered and on the path to disordered eating, depression, and isolation. You don’t need a formally diagnosed eating disorder or body dysmorphia to feel the effects of societal pressure to change and manipulate your body’s natural shape or size. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In my work with patients in mental health treatment, I have found a few simple shifts in behavior and mindset go a long way in dispelling summertime stress and inviting enjoyment back into the warmer months. Not only that, but consistent and repeated practice can help cultivate a new and supportive relationship with your body that can last through fall, winter, and many seasons to come.

Effects of Social Media on Body Shame

Unfollow, Block, Delete! – Take a look at your social media feeds. What accounts are you following right now that trigger comparison and body anxiety? Which influencers and images invoke a sense of guilt, unhealthy envy, and self-criticism? Is Susan from marketing posting about her juice cleanse again? Or maybe Bob from next door is posting his gym selfies for the tenth time this week.

This type of stimulus is not helpful. What’s worse, it’s selling a false narrative. What the influencers don’t show you is the photoshop app they use to reshape their bodies and the hours spent perfecting their angles and lighting. We also don’t get to see how cranky Susan is with her kids because she’s not properly nourishing her brain. And Bob isn’t going to post about his own body image dissatisfaction and anxiety that fuels his compulsive exercising.

Filter for Health and Acceptance

On social media, we are fed information that tricks us into believing idealism is realism. This is harmful because it leaves us constantly striving to achieve something that does not exist and feeling shameful all the while because we can’t do the impossible. Take this opportunity to curate the content you’re consuming to support healthy body acceptance and neutrality.

You don’t have to avoid social media completely to avoid triggering negative body image. There are actually several body positive and body neutral accounts that advocate for health at every size and self-acceptance. Keep an eye out for accounts that provide helpful suggestions for combating body shame and promote rejecting diet culture rather than rejecting your body.

Looking for body positive accounts to follow? Try @iweigh, @alissarumseyrd, and @mynameisjessamyn.

Practice Makes Progress – Not comfortable wearing your swimsuit to the beach? Practice wearing it around your house first! This may seem like a strange thing to do but getting comfortable in a safe place is the first step toward feeling comfortable on a beach full of strangers. Remember, you are probably judging yourself much harder than anyone else would.

Body Neutrality as an Option

While feeling positive about your body might seem like a lofty and far-off goal, a more attainable goal might be body neutrality. If you can find even a moment of feeling neutral about your body in a swimsuit, that is progress. Practicing body neutrality means acknowledging and appreciating the function of your body, rather than the form. If we can shift the focus away from deriving worth from our appearance, and instead derive worth from the soul, we can reclaim peace knowing that we are worthy regardless of the body we live in.

Next time you put on your swimsuit, practice repeating this body neutrality mantra:

My body is one of the interesting things about me.

Talk About Body Image Distress

Talk It Out – Usually our body dissatisfaction and distress come from a deep core belief about who we are. While it’s easy to blame the size and shape of our bodies as the root of all problems, the body is not the real issue here. If body image distress is becoming a pervasive and preoccupying problem in your life, it may be time to reach out to a therapist or mental health treatment center, like Lido Wellness Center.

With the help of a treatment team it becomes easier to understand that the body doesn’t need to change, the mind does! In my work with patients, I prioritize deconstructing and challenging the narratives we’ve been taught to believe about our bodies. We work together to process through the stories and experiences throughout the lifetime that have contributed to these harmful core beliefs.

When we take the time to say it out loud, we begin to hear and understand that the way we think and feel about our bodies often doesn’t originate from us. By tracking the history of our body image concerns, we can more easily identify the underlying cause. Very often, body image distress is a symptom of the real problem: trauma, fear, low self-worth, abuse, rejection, the list of possibilities goes on.

It can feel uncomfortable and scary, but talking about and processing through these deep rooted self-beliefs with a safe and supportive therapist can provide lasting relief. If we can move through the negative stories that have influenced our relationships with our bodies, we can change the narrative to claim stories that emphasize body empowerment, acceptance, and healthy self esteem.

Body Image Issues Help in Newport Beach

Though summertime is typically a season that heightens our body awareness and insecurities (especially here in Newport Beach, California), tending to our bodies’ needs and elevating gratitude for the body year round is best practice for long term healing. While these tips are helpful, it’s important to recognize that there is no quick fix to healing your relationship with yourself and your body. I know from personal experience that like any other relationship, tending to the body and mind is a daily practice.

These days, my trips to Newport beach look a whole lot different. When I step onto the hot summer sand, I’m not thinking about my body or comparing myself to the other people on the beach. I’m witnessing the majesty of the ocean, I’m smelling the brisk salt air, I’m laughing with my friends and family, and I’m enjoying the taste and texture of my seafront picnic. Sometimes, I still hear whisperings from that little girl who was afraid to be seen, and in those moments I remind her this:

Your body is your home. It is the vehicle that lets you experience the world. Let’s be grateful to the body that allows us to participate in this beautiful life.

by Chloe Horner, AMFT
Primary Therapist

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Lido Wellness Center Blog

No One’s Perfect: Perfectionist Disorder Help

July 14, 2021 | Tayler Deamon, LMFT

Take a moment to reflect on the qualities you value in yourself. For many of us, a term like “hardworking,” “a go-getter,” or “ambitious” might rank somewhere near the top of our list. We might value the effort we are willing to put into our work, our appearance, our relationships, or finding an overall sense of success. Many of us are searching for that moment where we can look at our lives and say “I’ve made it and now I can feel good about myself.” This is where perfectionist disorder comes in. 

Now, take a moment to reflect on what “making it” would look like. What expectations do you hold yourself to and how will you know you’ve succeeded in meeting them? This question might elicit a list of goals you are working toward or status symbols you are working to achieve. Many of us have high expectations of ourselves and work hard to meet expectations of ourselves and work really hard to meet those expectations.

Society of Perfection Disorders

In the United States, we have become a society of achievement oriented people often driven by our desire to be the best and to prove ourselves. Many of us gain a sense of purpose and self-worth from our achievements. We work long hours to attain tangible proof of our value in the world. We tell ourselves, “If I can just get that job, or that promotion, or that house or car, or body, then I will be happy. Then I can slow down and enjoy my life.” But, what happens when we reach these goals and what happens when we don’t?Perfectionist Disorder help

We all like to say we don’t expect perfection, but it is the thing many of us strive for anyway. The dictionary definition of perfection is “the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.” As we begin to expect perfection from ourselves, we continuously set ourselves up for increased anxiety followed by disappointment and a diminished sense of self-worth. No one can achieve perfection, because as humans, not a single one of us is perfect.

Psychological Perfectionist Disorder

According to the American Psychological Association, rates of perfectionist disorder in the United States have increased dramatically since the 1980s. A study conducted among English-speaking cultures such as Canada, America, and the UK, Curran and Hill found that the proportion of people who showed perfectionist traits had risen 33% from 1989 to 2016. Another study conducted by Kathleen Kawamura looked at cultural differences in perfectionism. She found that Asian-American students exhibited significantly higher rates of perfectionistic traits than their Caucasian-American counterparts.

Culture plays an important role in the way we view ourselves and the expectations we hold ourselves to. This study found that parents who came from Asian cultures had higher achievement based expectations of their children, which was carried over into the children’s expectations of perfection in themselves, especially as it related to academic achievement. While this is only one example, I believe it’s important for us to stop to think about the ways in which our environment, society, parents, or teachers impact the way we treat ourselves. Did you grow up feeling that there were high expectations placed on you to achieve or behave in a certain way?    

Working as a therapist, and from personal experience, I have seen the way perfectionism impacts one’s mental health. Perfectionist disorder is tied to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. We work so hard to achieve our goals and meet our expectations. When all of that work finally pays off, we rarely take the time to appreciate it before looking ahead to the next accomplishment. We often punish and berate ourselves for the mistakes we inevitably make along the way and feel a sense of disappointment or depression when we don’t meet our unrealistic expectations.

This cycle is made worse by the messages we receive from the outside world. We are surrounded by highly curated images of other people’s lives, filled with career success, expensive homes, and elaborate vacations. We don’t get to see the way others struggle, so we feel defeated when we struggle. This only pushes us to keep striving for the perfection we perceive in others. 

The Perfectionism Trap

The trap of a perfectionist disorder in our achievement oriented society, leaves us feeling generally unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and exhausted. We never feel like we’ve really accomplished anything because we are too focused on our flaws and always looking toward the next thing we have to achieve. I have found myself caught in this trap often. Even in writing this post, I have struggled with getting out of the perfectionist trap.

I have written and rewritten this blog post over and over again, trying to make sure it’s “perfect.” Pretty ironic when I’m writing about all the ways perfectionism hurts us. I have high expectations of myself and I have to consciously remind myself that I am not a perfect person and this doesn’t have to be a perfectly written blog. I have had to take a moment to examine my expectations, just as I asked you to do at the beginning. I would like to share some ways I have found helpful in challenging my achievement oriented perfectionist tendencies in hopes they can help you escape the trap.

  • Mindfulness/Meditation
  • Practice self-compassion; take the time to say kind things about yourself or practice self-affirmations
  • Take the time to really celebrate your accomplishments
  • Ask yourself what you would expect of someone you love
  • Try to remind yourself to see yourself the way people who care about you see you
  • Learn something new just for fun
  • Find things you can do that you enjoy just because you enjoy them, not because you have to be good at them or because you’re working toward a goal
  • Give yourself permission to slow down. Have that lazy Sunday!
  • Journal about the things you are grateful for in your life
  • Take a break from looking at the “perfect” lives of others on social media
  • Remember that no one is perfect, not even you

Am I Okay?

Perfectionism hinders us from truly enjoying our lives. In my opinion, it is our imperfections and our flaws that make us who we are and makes each of us unique. If we were all perfect people, we would likely all be the same. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world where everyone is the same perfect version of a human. Our flaws are what make us interesting and often help us feel vulnerable and connected with others. I find beauty in your imperfections and I hope you can learn to see that beauty too. 

If you are interested in reading more or working on embracing your imperfections, I would highly recommend The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown.

Tayler Deamon, LMFT

Primary Therapist


Cited Studies:

“Perfectionism Is Increasing Over Time: A Meta-Analysis of Birth Cohort Differences From 1989 to 2016” by Thomas Curran and Andrew P. Hill (

“Differences in Perfectionism Across Cultures: A study of Asian-American and Caucasian College Students” by Kathleen Y. Kawamura


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