How to Overcome Body Dysmorphia and Accept Yourself For Who You Are
Did you know that 1 in 10 people suffer from body dysmorphia (Body Dysmorphic Disorder)? So it's time to stop letting your insecurities get the best of you. The first step is admitting that you have a problem, and we're here to help!
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- What is body dysmorphia or Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
- Is body dysmorphia an eating disorder?
- How is body dysmorphic disorder diagnosed?
- Body dysmorphia causes
- How to treat body dysmorphia (Body Dysmorphic Disorder)
- Treatments for body dysmorphia
- How can you prevent Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?
- Body Dysmorphia Test
What is body dysmorphia or Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a mental health condition in which a person obsesses over a perceived flaw in their physical appearance. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) sufferers typically see themselves as ugly and may spend hours grooming, covering up, or checking their appearance to avoid being flawed. (Trusted sources 1*, 2*, 3*)
It affects 1 out of every 10 people and can lead to depression and social isolation. But, you don’t have to allow this disorder to take over your life. You are worthy no matter what!
Is body dysmorphia an eating disorder?
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is not classified as an eating disorder, but it's worth mentioning that this condition may lead to anorexia or bulimia.
Body dysmorphic disorder is characterized by a preoccupation with the appearance of features on one's face or body.
It's important to consult your physician if you think that you might suffer from this condition. They'll be able to provide you with treatment options and resources.
It is the most common form of body image disorder, and you are not alone in suffering from this condition. Millions of people around you suffer from the same thing you do -- you don't know it!
If you think you might be dealing with this condition, it may help to visit a psychologist or psychiatrist who can evaluate your symptoms and provide you with a professional diagnosis.
How is body dysmorphic disorder diagnosed?
People with body dysmorphic disorder have a distorted view of their own appearance. As a result, they are often overly concerned about or preoccupied with an aspect of themselves that is either minor, normal, unnoticeable to others, or nonexistent.
The person will go out in front of the mirror, checking for any flaws they might have and trying on different clothes to make sure they're wearing the right outfit.
This is all due to internal fear that others would judge them negatively, which usually doesn't happen because people are too busy focusing on themselves. BDD also causes severe emotional distress.
Body dysmorphia causes
What Causes BDD? As with many other mental health disorders, BDD is likely due to a combination of neurological, biological, environmental, and genetic factors.
BDD, or Body Dysmorphic Disorder, is an anxiety disorder in which people have a preoccupation with their appearance and physical flaws. It's not known exactly what causes BDD, but it might be associated with:
- Genetics. You may be more likely to develop BDD if you have a relative with the same condition; obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression.
- A traumatic experience from childhood, such as bullying or abuse.
- Low self-esteem.
- Being too perfectionist.
- Being Obsessed with competing with others.
- Fear of isolation or being alone.
- Perfectionism or competing with others.
- A chemical imbalance in the brain.
BDD is not the only mental health disorder that affects people. It can cause other disorders, like obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, depression, and eating disorders!
How to treat body dysmorphia (Body Dysmorphic Disorder)
How is Body Dysmorphic Disorder treated? There are numerous treatment options available for body dysmorphic disorder. Talk to your physician about the best course of action for you, but you can also do things such as:
Get involved in a sport or physical activity you enjoy
Physical activity will take your mind off things you don't like about yourself. In addition, you will be healthier, and you'll feel just a bit better about yourself.
Focus on the positive things you do have
For example, your hair! First, consider getting a haircut you like. If you've been dealing with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, you may not be happy with your hair or your physique, and you've probably tried everything you can to change something you don't like about yourself.
You may have even gotten your hair cut in a style you dislike, or you didn't get it cut at all! Consider going to an expert and getting your hair done the way you want it.
Practicing mindfulness exercises may help you if you're feeling low or anxious. Some people also find it helpful to get together with friends or family and try doing something new to improve their mental wellbeing.
It may be even more beneficial for many individuals experiencing a sense of uneasiness, anxiety, body dysmorphia, panic attacks, depression, and so on. For example, to practice relaxation breathing techniques to relieve stress from the body and the mind.
Meet people like you
Contact a support group and meet with other people who are going through the same thing you are. Support groups are great for you, and you will find you're not alone in your struggle.
See a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Consider seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist help you cope with your symptoms.
The most important thing you can do is contact someone you trust and help you get through this condition.
Treatments for body dysmorphia
SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
SSRIs are a popular type of antidepressant that treats depression. They're mainly prescribed to treat persistent and severe cases, often combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Fluoxetine is a type of SSRI that doctors recommended to treat Body Dysmorphic Disorder. However, to determine if fluoxetine will work for you, it can take up to 12 weeks before symptoms are alleviated and the drug's effects become noticeable. Therefore, if they help with your BDD, doctors usually recommend that patients keep taking them until their symptoms have been sufficiently diminished so as not to relapse in this time span or at all.
CTB (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
CBT is a way to manage your BDD symptoms by teaching you how different thought processes can lead to change.
Some of the ways that CBT helps people with their habits are through identifying what triggers those behaviors and helping them learn new coping skills in case it does reoccur.
A therapist will work with you to set goals and try to reach them. Along the way, your CBT will include a technique called exposure and response prevention (ERP).
This method gradually helps overcome BDD by facing situations that make one obsessively think about their appearance or feel anxious.
If you have not seen any improvements in your BDD symptoms after 12 weeks of treatment, then the doctor may prescribe a different type of SSRI or clomipramine.
Your BDD symptoms are persistent, and do you feel that they have not improved after 12 weeks of treatment? Then, it is time to get a second opinion.
If your doctor cannot help you or if the SSRI therapy has failed too many times, then specialists at mental health clinics can find an effective solution for treating this disorder.
How can you prevent Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?
Sadly, there's no surefire way to prevent body dysmorphic disorder. But since it often starts in the early teenage years, identifying and treating this condition as quickly as possible may keep symptoms under control for a longer period of time.
Long-term maintenance treatment also may help prevent relapses from happening again later on down the line too!
Beauty is a form of self-expression. It's okay to be yourself. You are you, and you are perfect just the way you are!
You must reach out for help to a mental health professional if you feel you might be suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder. You deserve to have your life!
Body Dysmorphia Test
Are you very concerned about the appearance of your body or a part of your body that you consider particularly unattractive?
- Do you worry about your appearance and wish you were less concerned about it?
- Do you spend at least one hour a day thinking about the flaw(s) in your appearance?
- Does worrying about your physical appearance affect your life in any way?
- Are there things you avoid because of the way you look?
- Does worrying about your appearance cause you any stress or emotional suffering?
If you answered yes to all or some of the questions, you might have Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). If you or someone you know has BDD, don't lose hope, there is a treatment for this condition. You are not alone.
By reading this blog post, you hope that you have learned more about the different types of dysmorphia and help those struggling with it. Remember, you are not their disorder.
You need love and support to get through each day. You can make a difference in someone's life by being there for them when nobody else is around. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule today to read my article on body dysmorphic disorders!
You can get more information on the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Article 10/20/2020 about Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
Medically reviewed and approved by Luzmery Romero M.D. and Nataniel Josué Alvarez M.D.