Body Dysmorphia: When the Mirror Lies

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Body dysmorphia is a mental health problem, although it sounds as if it is a disease of the body. The person with this issue fixates on one or more perceived flaws within their body. This can make the person anxious and may add to depression as well as feelings of embarrassment and ashamed.

Treatments range from CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and medications, to some minor reconstructive applications like PDO Threadlift. However, this will not always be the answer. If you or a loved one suffers from body dysmorphia, you will need to seek professional help from a registered psychiatrist.


Signs and Symptoms

Most of those suffering from body dysmorphia begin in their tween or teen years. This is when an individual is most susceptible to influences from the media. Want to look like a model or television personality and then believe they are coming up short in their looks? This can lead to various ways in which a person will strive to change their looks.

This person will also be looking in the mirror more or trying to change their appearance with repetitive actions like skin picking. This is known as dermatillomania or excoriation disorder. Hair pulling is something similar but is concentrated on pulling out one’s hair, eyebrows, and any other areas of hair. It is called trichotillomania.

A small amount of worry about one’s looks is normal in teens, young adults, and even older adults. What is not natural is a fixation on one or two parts of the body. Besides comparing their body to popular people, in real life or through the media, this person will go to great lengths to hide their flaws. Using more makeup, larger clothing or a hairstyle that covers more of their face are a few of the ways in which someone will deal with their disgust and disappointment with their body.


Seeking Help

One of the common traits of someone suffering from a mental illness is that they feel alone. They can’t imagine anyone else feeling the same as they do, especially when it comes to something like body dysmorphia. Their mind tricks them into thinking that their body is the only one with something wrong or unusual. This could be their view of their face, especially their nose or eyes, it could be their breasts or stomach. And this type of issue is not only in women, but it is more common in young girls. Men and young boys are also more aware of how they look and how society has elevated a certain look.

Before talking with someone about their views of their own body, it is better to talk with a professional as to how to approach someone with this type of issue. You do not want to add to their views by saying something that could not be helpful. If you suspect the person is severely depressed or you yourself are experiencing a depressive episode, please seek help. A bit of concern about your body is fine but obsessing about a certain part is not healthy.


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Written by Lola McQuenzie

Lola is one of our busiest writer. She has worked for Catwalk Yourself since 2007. Lola started working with us after she graduating from Central St Martins

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