Do you know a person who tends to spend too much time thinking about some flaws in one’s appearance even though you actually have never noticed them? May be you yourself find some parts of your body especially unattractive up to the point when you are ready to do anything to change them. These thoughts can be one of the symptoms of dysmorphophobia which is a quite serious mental disorder as it can push a person into undergoing dangerous medical and beauty procedures or even attempts to change hated parts of the body on one’s own. On top of that, dysmorphophobia is a mental disorder triggering thoughts about a suicide most frequently comparing to other conditions.
Let’s look at various issues related to this disorder together.
What is exactly dysmorphophobia?
Undeniably, the majority of people have at least one insecurity when it comes to their bodies. For some people it can be a shape of their nose or an excessive body weight, whereas others might be unhappy about a whole range of features of their bodies. Yet, such thoughts can be natural if they are not intervening into your daily life.
The difference between healthy people who are aware of some imperfections of their bodies and people with dysmorphophobia is in the fact the latter group of individuals are suffering from a real panic of not living up to the general standards of beauty. These people are literally getting into a panic thinking about their imperfections, even though in many cases such people do not have any real flaws. Usually, their imperfections are just the result of their active imaginations and others are not aware of this imagined ugliness of the people with dysmorphophobia.
The most frequently hated parts of the body by the people suffering from dysmorphophobia are skin, a nose and hair. The weight of the body is the next most frequently hated parameter of the body.
As you can imagine, people who are rather unhappy with their insecurities tend to spend too much time thinking about these flows on a daily basis which is not letting them to lead a normal lifestyle. The thoughts about the defective p[arts of the body are becoming so intensive that they are giving patients a lot of anxiety, make them depressed and can make them stay at home as they are too concerned about others seeing them like this.
What is causing dysmorphophobia?
Unfortunately. there is not a single answer to the question what can trigger such a condition in people. There are several factors which can affect the well-being of a patient. In many cases, a childhood trauma is one of the causes of dysmorphophobia. The dysmorphic disorder is also related to the genetics.
During the recent years, aggressive behaviour of mass media and social media has created beauty standards which can make people rather overwhelmed. Seeing unnaturally ideal people so many times during a day can trigger the illness with people who are initially predisposed to it, however, it does not mean that the expectations of others about one’s appearance are a real culprit for the development of dysmorphophobia. There are manty cases of this health condition in the countries which do not have such easy access to media as it is in the western world.
What are the symptoms of dysmorphophobia?
Now, you are aware of the fact not everyone who believes in the existence of some body imperfections is suffering from dysmorphophobia. Still, you should be particularly careful if you see several symptoms form the following list in yourself or your friends or relatives.
First of all, people with dysmorphophobia tend to have issues with mirrors. Some of them are literally afraid of looking into the mirror and will never do it. In addition to it, they will not allow you to make any photos of themselves. At the same time, there are people suffering from dysmorphophobia who are spending too much time in front of the mirror watching themselves and analysing their appearance.
Another symptom is resigning from social contacts or even staying at home since such people are seriously concerned about the way their appearance is judged by others.
Needless to say, people ill with dysmorphophobia are spending almost all of their free time thinking about their defective parts of the body and searching for ways to get rid of these problems. That is why they tend to spend a lot of money on the fight with their flaws and are prone to excessive exercising, harsh diets and undergoing risky beauty procedures or plastic surgeries.
Is it possible to treat dysmorphophobia?
This mental condition can be addressed with some of the methods used for treating an obsessive-compulsive disorder. When it comes to medication, antidepressants have proved to be effective for treating dysmorphophobia. At the same time, psychiatrists are successfully using the cognitive-behavioural method for understanding the roots of dysfunctional thinking of such patients.