"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

What is Body Dysmorphia?

Body dysmorphia, also called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), is a psychological disorder that causes you to fret about your appearance. You might imagine that certain parts of your body are defective. Other people may not have the opportunity to acknowledge the things that you simply perceive as flaws. This can result in psychological stress that may affect your on a regular basis life.

Body dysmorphia is said to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) but is commonly misdiagnosed. If that is the case, it's possible you'll feel an urgent must perform certain rituals or routines (compulsions), corresponding to: B. have a look within the mirror or avoid it.

Body dysmorphia can affect anyone. It often begins in teenage or early maturity. In the United States, it affects about 2.4% of adults – barely more people assigned female at birth than people assigned male at birth.

While the term “body dysmorphia” may sound like “gender dysphoria,” the 2 are different. Gender dysphoria is the psychological distress that an individual may experience when the gender with which they discover doesn't match the gender assigned at birth. It just isn't a mental disorder, although individuals with this disorder may face challenges that negatively impact their mental health. Not all gender diverse people have gender dysphoria. Dysphoria refers to discomfort, while dysmorphia is more about distress over a perceived flaw.

There are two subtypes of body dysmorphia:

Muscle dysmorphia: If you're thinking that your body isn't tall enough or muscular enough. You may exercise loads, count calories, wear more clothes to seem bulkier, closely monitor your weight loss program, or have a strict meal plan. It is typically called “bigorexia” or “reverse anorexia.” It can overlap with an eating disorder, but it surely just isn't at all times an eating disorder.

Body dysmorphia by proxy: You may end up overly focused on what you perceive to be flaws in one other person's appearance – it might be someone or a stranger. It causes stress and affects your functioning. You can use repetitive behaviors to alleviate your anxiety or guilt.

Experts don't know the precise reason for body dysmorphia. There are many possible aspects.

One theory is that there's a problem with the scale or function of certain areas of the brain that process information in regards to the body's appearance. The indisputable fact that body dysmorphia often occurs in individuals with other mental disorders corresponding to major depression and anxiety further supports the biological basis of the disorder. Genes can actually be a cause, experts say.

Other things that would influence the event or trigger of BDD include:

  • Traumatic events or emotional conflicts in childhood, corresponding to bullying
  • Low self-esteem
  • Parents and others who criticized the person's appearance

Pressure from peers and a society that equates physical appearance with beauty and value also can impact the event of body dysmorphia. Social media could play a job.

Warning signs that an individual could also be affected by body dysmorphia include:

  • Engaging in repetitive and time-consuming behaviors, corresponding to: B. looking in a mirror (or avoiding one), picking on the skin and attempting to hide or cover up the perceived defect
  • Compare your body part with others
  • Constantly ask for confirmation that the defect just isn't visible or too obvious
  • Don't consider others once they say you look good
  • Repeatedly measuring or touching the body part
  • Problems at work, school, or relationships as a consequence of the lack to stop specializing in the perceived lack
  • Feeling unsafe and never wanting to exit in public or being afraid of others
  • Seek cosmetic surgery or other cosmetic procedures to enhance appearance
  • Not being satisfied with attempts to enhance appearance

Areas of the body it's possible you'll fixate on include:

  • Face, corresponding to nose, complexion, wrinkles, or blemishes (also referred to as facial dysmorphia)
  • Hair, corresponding to its appearance, thinning or baldness
  • Skin and veins
  • Breast size or appearance
  • Muscle size and tone
  • genitals

You could also be obsessive about a couple of body part; Many people deal with three or 4 while experiencing symptoms.

The secrecy and shame you might have could make it difficult to get a diagnosis – or make an accurate diagnosis. Most experts agree that many cases of body dysmorphia go undiagnosed. You may feel embarrassed and reluctant to inform your doctor or therapist about your concerns or behaviors. As a result, the disorder may go unnoticed for years or may never be diagnosed.

Sometimes it's possible you'll be misdiagnosed with depression, OCD, anxiety, or an eating disorder. For example, in the event you cut or pluck your hair to enhance your appearance, it's possible you'll be mistakenly diagnosed with trichotillomania. It can be misdiagnosed as schizophrenia or psychotic depression.

To diagnose body dysmorphia, the doctor will likely ask about your medical history and perform a physical examination. If the doctor suspects body dysmorphia, she or he may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologistmedical professionals specially trained to diagnose and treat.

To make a diagnosis, the doctor or therapist rules out other psychological disorders. They will confirm that you may have great concerns a few small or non-existent body defect. You also must acknowledge that hyperfocus is interfering along with your day by day life.

Treatment for body dysmorphia will likely include a mixture of the next therapies:

  • Psychotherapy: This is a type of individual counseling that focuses on changing the best way you're thinking that (cognitive therapy) and the best way you behave (behavioral therapy) to raised support you. Often therapists turn to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) since it helps you discover negative thoughts and learn to take into consideration yourself in additional supportive ways. Counseling also can happen in a bunch format and include other individuals with body dysmorphia. This can also include relations or relatives.
  • Medication: Definitely antidepressantMedication So-called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are showing promise in treating body dysmorphia. They work higher than other antidepressants, studies show. Antipsychotics corresponding to Aripiprazole (Abilify), Olanzapine (Zyprexa), or Pimozide (Wrap it) (either alone or together with an SSRI) can also be helpful. There is not any officially FDA-approved medication specifically to treat body dysmorphia. Between 50 and 80% of individuals taking medication have fewer or less severe symptoms. They are less prone to relapse if symptoms recur.
  • Hospital stay: This could also be a great alternative in the event you are in imminent danger of self-harm or are overwhelmed by symptoms.

You might imagine that cosmetic surgery or procedures may also help, but that's not necessarily the case. It can often trigger symptoms, make them worse, or cause you to deal with one other area of ​​your body.

If you turn into too self-conscious to exit in public or be around others, it's possible you'll turn into socially isolated. This also can have a negative impact on school or work. You are also at high risk of severe depression, and the distress related to the disorder puts you at high risk of suicidal thoughts or suicide. In fact, 35.2% of individuals with body dysmorphia attempt suicide, some data shows. Other evidence shows that around 80% of individuals with body dysmorphia have suicidal thoughts and between 24 and 28% have attempted suicide.

Other complications include:

  • Health problems brought on by skin picking
  • eating disorder
  • Substance abuse

The excellent news is that body dysmorphia is treatable. Plus, if you may have a robust support team, you'll probably be higher off in the long term. There is not any cure, but it's possible you'll have the opportunity to search out relief and higher support yourself.

There is not any known option to prevent body dysmorphia. However, it might be helpful to start treatment as soon as symptoms appear. It can worsen with age. Teaching and inspiring a healthy and realistic approach to body image also can help prevent body dysmorphia from getting worse.

If you suffer from body dysmorphia, skilled assistance is the most effective solution to alleviate symptoms or get better. But there are things you may do to support yourself.

A couple of ideas:

  • Stick to your treatment plan to forestall symptoms from recurring.
  • Stick along with your medication (in the event you are taking it) to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Avoid alcohol and medicines as they might worsen symptoms and/or interact with the medications you take.
  • Exercise to enhance your health, not to repair the perceived flaw.
  • Write in a journal.
  • Reach out to a friend.
  • Try a support group.
  • Practice leisure.
  • Ease your stress in a way that supports your physical and mental health.
  • Be mindful of your social media usage.

A couple of resources:

If you may have suicidal thoughts:

  • Call 911 (within the US).
  • Text 988 or Chat online with a specialist. It's free and confidential.