Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental disorder in which you cannot stop thinking about one or more perceived defects in your appearance, a defect that for others is less or not perceptible. However, you may feel so embarrassed or worried about avoiding many social situations.
When you have Body Dysmorphic Disorder, you become intensely obsessed with your appearance and body image; you repeatedly look in the mirror, wash yourself or look for safety, sometimes, for many hours a day. The perceived defect and the repetitive behaviors cause you great anguish and impact on your daily life.
You may try many aesthetic procedures to “fix” the perceived defect. After this, you may feel a temporary satisfaction, but the anxiety usually returns.You may come back to find a way to fix the perceived defect.
Symptoms Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder:
- To worry excessively about a perceived defect in the appearance that others do not see or see as something minor.
- Believe solidly that you have a defect in your appearance that makes you unpleasant or deformed.
- Believe that others pay special attention to your appearance in a negative way or make fun of you.
- Try to hide the perceived faults through hairstyle, makeup or clothing.
- Constantly compare your appearance with others.
- Always seek security about your appearance in others.
- Have perfectionist tendencies.
- Procure aesthetic procedures frequently without being satisfied.
- Avoid social situations.
- Being so concerned about the appearance that causes you anguish or significant problems in your social life, school or other areas of operation.
Typically, Body Dysmorphic Disorder begins in the first years of adolescence and affects both men and women. The obsession with a body constitution that is too small or not sufficiently muscular occurs almost exclusively in males.
Causes Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder:
It is still unclear as to what causes this pathology, we can find possible causes in three areas: genetic, social, and psychological.
Genetic Reasons: It is believed that there may be a genetic cause, since the chances of suffering from it increase considerably when there is a member of the family that suffers from the same problem.
Social Reasons: Without a doubt, we live in a society where there is an influential culture of appearance. People are highly valued for their physical appearance, there is discrimination by hereditary factors in almost all countries. In general, our society finds “looking good” as something precious and desirable.
So that those who feel that they are outside the canons of beauty established by society, can develop feelings of anguish and anxiety, such as occurs with eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.
Psychological Reasons: Low self-esteem is a determining factor in this type of disorders. The inability to accept oneself as one is, to love oneself, even with one’s own imperfections, is usually the trigger for more complex disorders.
When To Consult With The Doctor:
It is possible that the embarrassment and discomfort you feel for your appearance prevent you from seeking treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder. If you have signs or symptoms, consult your health professional or mental health professional.
Generally, body dysmorphic disorder does not improve on its own and, if left untreated, may get worse over time. In the long run, it may cause severe depression and anxiety, generate substantial medical bills and, perhaps, lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
When a person suffers from this disorder, the first thing to do is accept it and seek help. It is necessary for the person to talk to their relatives or close friends to not feel alone. The next step is to seek professional advice. Surely the first person I contact is the family doctor.
The family doctor can make the first diagnosis, but it is necessary to contact a psychologist specialized in the subject. It is necessary to re-educate the individual so that he acquires positive behavior patterns and realistic thought patterns.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is usually the treatment of par excellence in this disorder, although not all treatments work for everyone. The goal of the cognitive behavioral therapist is to identify the connections between the patient’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior so that the patient can acquire practical skills to overcome this disorder. The therapy can be group or individual.
In the treatment of BDD, cognitive behavioral therapy will typically focus on the individual’s attitude towards their own body and their physical appearance. To reduce the need to carry out negative behaviors and help the patient to feel less anxious regarding your own body image.
Different cognitive-behavioral techniques are often used: expository techniques, social skills, and cognitive restructuring.
The Goals Of Psychological Treatment:
- The modification of negative self-verbalizations about the body.
- The change of irrational assumptions about physical appearance.
- Disappearance, or at least reduction, of ritual and avoidance behaviors.
- Modify habits that negatively interfere with daily functioning, and learn to tolerate one’s appearance.