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Unless you’re a movie star, chances are you have some self-image problems. Perhaps you feel your butt is too large, your midsection isn’t large enough, or there’s something that just irritates you. That’s standard. But when you’ve got body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD (the mental health illness that causes you to really have a distorted self-image) that “something” is normally imaginary or minimal and yet it causes you to worry and obsess about everything you perceive in order to be ugly look. BDD can affect one to such a degree that makes it difficult to live the usual life.

Managing day-to-day life with BDD may be overwhelming.

“Body dysmorphic disorder is a somewhat intense psychiatric disorder, as well as the best course of action is professional help,” says Leslie Heinberg, PhD, of the Cleveland Clinic, who specializes in treating individuals with BDD. “Patients frequently don’t make critical progress without some kind of intervention.”

BDD, though, can be medicated and handled. “Therapy usually contains an antidepressant drug called a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, and also a form of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy,” Heinberg explains.

In CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, you’re shown how to comprehend that your self-understanding is not true — something which can be very difficult to accept. “CBT for body dysmorphic disorder is like obsessive compulsive disorder,” she says. “You have to expose visitors to their fears so they can be desensitized.”

“Much of the work of behavioral therapy is to help patients restrict the compulsive behaviors, such as camouflaging behaviors or assurance-seeking,” she says, “and patients will likely be taught delay strategies or thought-stopping techniques.”

Behaviours of anxiety include:

  • Continuously seeking self-confidence about your appearance
  • Always trying to hide a perceived flaw under cosmetics or clothing
  • Spending hours in front of a mirror, or avoiding mirrors totally
  • Constant grooming or exercising
  • Changing clothes over and over again

Decrease obsessive thoughts can be helped by cognitive interventions made to help you consider your look in a more balanced manner. Ways to take good care of yourself each and every day include getting adequate sleep, follow a healthy diet, and receiving exercise as “these can help symptoms from being more magnified as a result of exhaustion and poor health,” says Heinberg.

Why Treatment and Management Is Important for BDD

“Living with BDD means living with an extreme and exaggerated negative awareness of your appearance,” Heinberg says. “Someone with this specific illness may worry obsessively about their self-image almost every waking minute.”

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Almost 50 percent of individuals with BDD develop an alcohol or drug problem. Surgery that is unnecessary is sought by up to 50 percent — in fact, people with BDD make up about 15 percent of cosmetic surgery patients. Studies reveal that about 75 percent of individuals with BDD sometimes feel that life isn’t worth living, and 25 percent attempt suicide.

In a study published in the journal Suicide and Life Threatening Behaviour, researchers interviewed 200 individuals with BDD and found that 78 percent had thought about suicide. Folks who’d an anorexia and BDD -type eating history were nearly twice as likely as other individuals with BDD to really attempt suicide.


Recovery Is Possible

A study printed in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease found that individuals with BDD have a great speed of recovery. Although the study was modest, it’s the longest study over a protracted period of time of BDD treatment. Of the 15 players, 76 percent were in healing from BDD. For about half of the patients, it took five years to reach healing.

Living with BDD means working hard with a therapist to beat your fears. Here’s what else you need to know:

  • As you expose yourself as well as your anxieties to others, you slowly become more insensitive.
  • You may require medication to help cope with stress or depression.
  • You must remain in treatment, although the prognosis for recovery is not bad.
  • Avert seeking surgery as an alternative.
  • Avoid cutting yourself off from other people.
  • Ensure that you get sufficient sleep and exercise.
  • Eat a diet that is proper.
  • Don’t self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.
  • If you have some thoughts of giving up or hurting yourself, you need to share with someone and speak with your doctor straight away.

Finally, ensure you are in possession of a good support system of friends and family members. They can help you stick with your treatment in the event you get down and discouraged. Consider joining a BDD support group — ask your physician or therapist about one in your region or online. The Stress and Depression Association of America has a Web site where you link to posts about living with BDD, locate support groups, and can find out more about BDD.

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