Coping with body dysmorphia
by Fabian H on Nov 11, 2022
If you’re self-conscious about your appearance, you might be wondering if you’re suffering from what’s called body dysmorphia. Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or body dysmorphia for short, is a mental health condition in which you can't stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance. What you may consider a flaw to your appearance may not even be perceived by others. But you may feel so embarrassed, ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations. While feeling self-conscious about your appearance is a natural feeling that we all experience, body dysmorphia is a more elevated sense of self-consciousness that can sometimes require counseling or medication.
What are signs and symptoms of body dysmorphia?
Body dysmorphia shows itself in may forms, but there is a list of classic symptoms to be mindful for if you think you or a loved one is experiencing body dysmorphia:
- Constantly checking yourself in the mirror
- Another symptom may be avoiding mirrors entirely
- Trying to hide your body under a hat, scarf, makeup, bulky clothes
- Constantly exercising or grooming
- Constantly comparing yourself with others
- Always asking other people whether or not you look okay
- Not believing other people when they say you look fine
- Avoiding social activities
- Not going out of the house, especially in the daytime
- Seeing many healthcare providers about your appearance
- Feeling anxious, depressed, and ashamed
It is important to consider that exhibiting a couple or a few of these symptoms don’t necessarily mean you are afflicted with body dysmorphia, but if you identify with several of these symptoms, seeking treatment is encouraged, and nothing to be ashamed of.
How to treat body dysmorphia
Treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder may include talk therapy or medicines. The best treatment is probably a combination of the two. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective talk therapy. In CBT, you work with a mental health professional to replace negative thoughts and thought patterns with positive thoughts. Antidepressant medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors usually work best for Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
There is hope to change your outlook
If you’re suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, you may feel like you’re in a hopeless situation. But with the right resources and rethinking the way you look at yourself, you can live a fruitful and fulfilling life, and feel like your most beautiful and radiant self.
About AIM Medical
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