It is natural for most people to feel some level of self-consciousness regarding their appearance in the presence of others. But for some, this concern rises past an unhealthy level and develops into a chronic mental condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder or Body Image Disorder. People who suffer from this disorder can’t stop thinking about a flaw in their appearance that may be either minor or imagined. For victims of this disorder, this minor or imagined flaw seems so shameful they don’t want to be seen by anyone.
Signs of Body Dysmorphic Disorder may include:
- Preoccupation with physical appearance
- Frequent examination in the mirror or, conversely, avoidance of mirrors
- Belief that others take special notice of your appearance in a negative way
- Extreme self-consciousness
- Constantly seeking cosmetic procedures to “fix” perceived flaws without satisfaction
- The need to seek reassurance about your appearance from others
- Excessive grooming, such as hair plucking
- Skin picking
- Refusal to appear in pictures
- Avoidance of social situations
- The need to wear excessive makeup or clothing to hide perceived flaws
This condition, often referred to as “imagined ugliness,” can arise as a result of childhood teasing or societal expectations of beauty. For most people with Body Image Disorder, the majority of their attention focuses on one particular part of their body. This could be any bodily attribute, but some of the more commonly seen features include:
- Acne and blemishes
- Breast size
- Muscle size
Treatment for this condition often includes medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. However, left untreated, this condition can lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior, repeated hospitalizations, difficulty attending work or school, lack of self-esteem, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression or mood disorders, social phobia, substance abuse, or a lack of close relationships. Because of these traumatic consequences, it is important to seek help if you or a loved one is impacted by the symptoms listed above.
For more information on Body Image Disorder and cognitive behavior therapy and/or medication in the Boca Raton, Florida area, contact South Florida anxiety disorder specialist Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.