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Guys and the pressure to be beach body perfect

Beach season is here and more guys are pumping iron at the gym and running shirtless at lunch hour. Men's Health just featured another guy with ripped abs and biceps on their cover. And Instagram is overflowing with perfectly sculpted dudes surfing waves, climbing mountains and running on soccer fields.

It can make regular guys feel downright depressed.

"The summer can for some people increase the anxiety associated with body image concerns because your body is more exposed," said Dr. Katharine Phillips, director of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Program at Rhode Island Hospital, and professor of psychiatry at Brown University.

Some of her male patients with body image concerns even get blue about the extra hours of daylight summer brings, Phillips told CBS News. "They really don't like their body to be seen."

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Phillips co-authored "The Adonis Complex: How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Body Obsession in Men and Boys," more than a decade ago to help bring light to a trend she saw among men - an increasing focus on the body and the need for perfection.

"Body image concerns are common in boys and young men. It's an under recognized problem and it can be quite serious," she said, calling it a "silent" yet widespread problem.

About 2 percent of the population suffers from body dysmorphic disorder - when they perceive one or more flaw or defects in their appearance. About half are men, according to the American Psychiatric Association. The eating disorder anorexia strikes one male for every 10 females. But studies suggest the prevalence of eating disorders [including both anorexia and bulimia] in males is increasing.

There's a spectrum of severity when it comes to body dysmorphic disorder, said Phillips. "They may be very preoccupied and distressed by various parts of their body - the skin, hair, nose, muscles."

Men tend to be more severely impaired by their body image and eating disorder problems day-to-day, she added. Affected men are less likely to work and more likely to receive disability payments. Anxiety and depression come hand-in-hand with the disorders, too.

The Buzzfeed experiment

Recently four cute, nerdy reporters from the news site Buzzfeed, who call themselves "The Try Guys," had some fun picking photos of male celebrities and sports icons. For example, one guy picked an image of a muscled, tattooed Justin Bieber modeling underwear. Then they each succumbed to makeovers, photo shoots and photo shopped images of themselves, to see how they looked in the ideal bodies of those bronzed gods.

They became emotional and vulnerable as they talked about the prettied-up pictures of themselves. One smart, funny, attractive and fit reporter looked at his celebrity-style image and commented that he looked fat.

"I think social media does have an impact, often a negative impact. The patients I see often speak about these impossible images of perfection that they have access to 24/7. They frequently compare themselves to them," said Phillips.

"They underestimate their own attractiveness and overestimate the attractiveness of others," she added.

Just as damaging, she said, are apps and online quizzes that let men compare themselves or rate themselves -- programs that tell them how beautiful or ugly they are compared to one standard or another.

Selfies are also a danger to self-esteem. "They often distort how a person looks," pointed out Phillips.

Fighting the negative body image trap

"Number one, don't buy into the media images around you. A lot of them are unrealistic, and for heterosexual men, are also not necessarily what women find attractive. Men think women want them to be much more muscular than women want them to be," said Phillips.

"Remember that a vast industry profits from making you feel insecure about your body. But masculinity isn't defined by the way you look," she added.

Some anxiety about looks is normal when you're younger, said Dr. Victor Fornari, director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital, and Cohen Children's Medical Center, in New York.

As boys grow up, they often have anxiety about their body configuration as part of their developing self, he explained.

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"A certain amount of those concerns can be healthy. It helps people to eat correctly, exercise and be proud of who they are as people and how they look," Fornari told CBS News.

But when those worries begin to invade thoughts all day long, become obsessive or interfere with activities and well being, it's time to seek professional help.

Behavioral therapy can help, and sometimes medications.

There are outpatient and in-patient programs available for more severe cases.

Fornari said historically, eating disorders were considered a female health condition, but now 10 to 15 percent of patients at most eating disorder centers are male. Men-only programs are also now popping up since their issues are somewhat different from women's.

"Men may be more concerned about their physique and muscles. Women may be concerned about their hips and breasts, for example. In adolescence, it can be hard to put these kids together," said Fornari.

He said men in certain professions should be aware that they're more at risk for a body image or eating disorder. For example, horse racing jockeys, wrestlers, runners, and others who need to "make weight" for certain events or in order to be lighter and faster.

Parents can help early on by limiting boys' exposure to social media that promotes unrealistic body images and messages.

"Kids need to grow up in environments where parents help them feel good about themselves, have good self esteem," said Fornari.

And young men should focus on what's important, he said. "Their career, education and relationships. Part of growing up is learning how to self-regulate time, money, food, sleep and exercise. Getting obsessed just with appearance isn't productive. Focus on what your priorities are."

Phillips said, "I often ask my patients, 'Why are you friends with who you are friends with?'"

It reminds them that a good friend and human being isn't ultimately about what's on the outside, but who he is on the inside, she said: kind, competent, intelligent, funny, nice to be with.

"All these personality traits are a critically important part of who we are. That's how real relationships work," Phillips said.

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