Posted on: August 12, 2009 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 0

Do you find yourself obsessing over your appearance more than the average person does? Is it becoming increasingly obvious that you’re not at all happy with a certain aspect of your looks, or even your looks in general? If this sounds all-too familiar to you, you may be suffering from body dysmorphic disorder.

Body dysmorphic disorder is a psychological condition in which a person obsesses over imaginary or exaggerated flaws in their appearance. The disorder is most common in teens and young adults, as this is a time in which appearance feels most important in their lives. The problem gets worse when bullies enter the scene.

This condition can be very scary, as it can rip away self-esteem and cause anti-social behavior. As difficult as it can be to admit you need help, it’s an important first step towards recovery.

Read on for some of the ways you can get rid of body dysmorphic disorder, and gain back a positive body image.

1. Recognizing the Signs

Many of us have moments in which we feel dissatisfied with our looks. It can happen to just about anyone. However, the line is crossed into a serious problem when dissatisfaction with appearance becomes an utter obsession that affects one’s everyday life.

Are you suffering from body dysmorphic disorder? Here are the noteworthy signs:

A strong, irrational belief that there is something seriously wrong with your appearance.

Extreme, constant self-consciousness, beyond normal or accepted levels.

Avoiding going out in public due to fear of people seeing you.

The belief that people are always noticing and judging your appearance in a negative way.

2. Getting a Diagnosis

If the previous list sounds like your experience, and you believe you have body dysmorphic disorder, you should seek professional help immediately. Your mental health is of extreme importance, and you deserve the assistance of a professional.

See a clinician to get a professional opinion. They can provide the correct diagnosis for what you’re experiencing. Getting a formal diagnosis is the first step toward tackling this disorder.

3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The basis of many mental illnesses is the tendency to have irrational thoughts or worries. Negative thoughts can take over the mind, having an effect on the way we see ourselves and the world around us.

Cognitive behavioral therapy attempts to turn these negative thoughts around. The aim of this process is to determine, evaluate, and eventually change negative or destructive thought processes.

This type of therapy could be a great way to finally tackle and get rid of those destructive thoughts you’ve been having about your physical appearance.

4. Medication

Medications prescribed for this condition are usually antidepressant drugs, like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs). Doctors might also suggest that some patients require drugs used for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Taking medications to aid a mental illness is extremely normal. It can make a world of a difference in terms of your outlook on yourself and the world overall. Talk to a professional about your medication options.

5. Hospitalization

In severe cases of body dysmorphic disorder, hospitalization may be necessary. If the patient is posing a threat to their own safety or the safety of others, they may require the round the clock supportive care a hospital can provide.

If you feel as though you’ve lost control, or are considering hurting yourself, seek medical attention immediately.

6. Learn about the Disorder

Teaching yourself about this disorder can help you to better understand what is really going on in your mind. Learning about body dysmorphic disorder can assist you in gaining back power over your thoughts. Realizing that you can get better will motivate you to stick to your recovery plan.

Also, realizing that you’re not alone will give you the relief and support that you need. Learn about other people’s experiences with the disorder, and what they did to turn their lives around. A little inspiration can go a long way.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to support groups, whether online or in person. Reaching out to people who have had the same experience will make you feel less alone in your fight.

7. Don’t Self-Medicate

When suffering from a mental illness, it can be tempting to drift toward self-medicating with the use of drugs and alcohol. People often feel desperate for an instant fix. Drugs and alcohol can take their mind off things for a little while, and this is appealing.

Choosing to go down this road, though, will only make things worse in the end. These “solutions” are only temporary. They don’t address the root of your problem in any way.
Stay away from the temptation to hide from your issue through substance abuse. Facing the disorder head-on is the best way to achieve recovery.

8. Physical Activity

Staying physically active is a key component to managing mental well-being. Exercise can help with symptoms like anxiety, depression, and stress. Take control of your mental well-being by making exercise a regular habit.

Try to fit at least 30 minutes of exercise into your day, every single day. Discover something you enjoy, and try new things! Activities can include swimming, biking, jumping rope, or playing sports.

If it helps, find yourself a workout buddy or personal trainer who will help keep you motivated to exercise on a daily basis.

Mental illness is a scary thing. The power that a negative thought can have over our happiness and self-esteem is shocking to think about. Getting rid of body dysmorphic disorder, just like any other mental illness, will not be an easy task. It will take dedication and perseverance. Remember, though, that it is possible!

Know that you’re not alone in your fight, and you deserve to feel better again. Seek support wherever you can, and don’t give up no matter what! Think about how good it will feel to gain back that positive body image.

Note that this article is not a substitute for medical advice. Be sure to seek a professional diagnosis as well as professional help. Best of luck on your recovery journey.

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