Though beauty and fashion trends can be fun and affirming, they also have a history of negatively affecting people’s perceptions of beauty and health. The pressure to look like a model or Instagram influencer is so great that this trend significantly harms the mental health and well-being of millions of people. Some individuals may resort to drastic means to reach this standard of beauty, and many develop mental illnesses, such as body dysmorphic disorder.
If you are obsessed with the “flaws” of your appearance to the point where it affects your life and routines, then you may be experiencing body dysmorphic disorder. Read on to learn more about this disorder as well as some treatment options so that you can love your body again.
What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
Body dysmorphic disorder is a condition where someone obsesses over their flaws or imperfections. In many cases, these flaws are insignificant and are noticed by very few people. However, people with body dysmorphic disorder will think their flaws are extremely noticeable and will consume the person’s thoughts and behavior.
People with body dysmorphic disorder will take many actions to minimize or hide their flaws. For example, they may use excessive filters or photoshop on selfies and even utilize surgeries or similar treatments to fix the defect. Those who don’t utilize these options may avoid socializing or experience low-self esteem or depression due to these flaws.
Body dysmorphic disorder can be caused by a few factors. Someone who already has low self-esteem may become obsessive over any flaws or imperfections and therefore develop this disorder. Individuals may also develop the disorder after being criticized by peers or family about the flaw, even if no one else notices it.
However, one of the biggest factors is the beauty pressures from society at large. Many celebrities and influencers have access to expensive treatments and lifestyles that help them look a certain way. Furthermore, many of these influences wear enormous amounts of makeup or use filters to hide their flaws in their pictures. They may pass these images as their “natural self.” This normalizes a nearly impossible standard of beauty and makes average-looking people feel ugly or worthless.
Signs You Live With Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Everyone experiences low self-esteem and may not like certain parts of their body. However, people with body dysmorphic disorder are obsessive with their flaws, which interferes with their daily life. Some signs that you or someone you love is living with body dysmorphic disorder include:
- Obsession with one or more defects
- Avoiding work or school so no one notices your body
- Withdrawing from relationships or family from low self-esteem
- Looking in the mirror often or frequently behaving in ways that attempt to hide the defect
- Experiencing low self-esteem and self-consciousness
- Looking for constant reassurance of attractiveness
- Researching or utilizing medical options that may improve general appearance or fix the flaw (plastic surgery, botox, etc.)
How To Treat Body Dysmorphic Disorder And Love Your Body Again
If you live with body dysmorphic disorder, you can treat your symptoms and learn to love your body again. In most cases, your thoughts and behaviors are from the pressures of society or a few critical people. Everyone of every shape and size is beautiful and what a person consider their flaws may actually be very attractive to someone else. Many people are successfully treated for body dysmorphic disorder and live their life full of healthy self-love.
There are many treatment options for body dysmorphic disorder, including:
- Talk therapy: A therapist or psychiatrist can help manage the negative thoughts that come with body dysmorphic disorder. In therapy, an individual can learn about self-love and how to navigate criticism or unhealthy societal standards.
- Group or family therapy: Healthy socialization and love are critical factors for treating body dysmorphic disorder. Individuals with this disorder need to be surrounded by people who can show them how beautiful they truly are. Therefore, attending group therapy or family therapy can do wonders for the self-esteem of someone with body dysmorphic disorder.
- Medications: Certain antidepressants may help with any depression that results from body dysmorphic disorder. They may also help with the negative thoughts that contribute to low self-esteem. All medication must be prescribed by a psychiatrist.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a serious disorder often caused by pressures to conform to unrealistic beauty standards. It affects people of all ages and genders, as everyone has some sort of pressure to conform to an ideal body type. However, everyone of every age, shape, and gender is beautiful, no matter what their “flaws” are.
If you live with body dysmorphic disorder, talk to a therapist for help and treatment so that you can learn to love your body again. For more information on body dysmorphic disorder and how to treat it, head over to BetterHelp.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.