Identifying and Addressing Signs of Body Dysmorphia

It’s not uncommon to have some self-insecurities or not to exactly be enthralled with your image in the mirror. However, when the idea of how you look bothers you to a point in which you engage in self-damaging behaviors or debilitates your daily life, it can be a mental health issue. Identifying signs of body dysmorphia can help individuals dealing with this issue to understand more about what they’re experiencing. And, get the professional help they need to live out a life of mental and physical well-being.

What is Body Dysmorphia?

Body dysmorphia is a mental health condition that displays characteristics of self-hatred for oneself as it relates to self-image. A person living with body dysmorphia can loathe aspects of themselves, one part of their face or body, or their entire image. Typically, the things that people with this condition hate about their appearance aren’t even noticeable by others. Or, if they are, they’re extremely overemphasized by the person with body dysmorphia. Often, people living with this condition try to hide their self-perceivable ‘imperfections’ from others, sometimes at great cost and discomfort to themselves.

Signs of Body Dysmorphia

Being able to identify the signs of body dysmorphia in your life or that of a loved one’s life can help to determine if there’s a problem. And, if professional help is needed to overcome the effects of this disorder. In many cases, people living with this issue may not know they need help. Or, even struggle with something that they can get help with. So, learning about the symptoms and signs of body dysmorphia is imperative.

Some of the signs of body dysmorphia include:

  • avoiding mirrors
  • attempting to hide ‘self-perceived flaws’ from others using clothing/makeup/etc.
  • repeatedly trying to modify or check the thing or things that bother them about their appearance
  • exercising intensely and too often
  • needing the reassurance of others that their ‘self-perceived flaws’ aren’t an issue
  • having surgical alterations to the things that they don’t like about their appearance
  • picking skin, pulling out hair, and other self-damaging behaviors
  • avoidance of social events and activities
  • extreme dieting and fasting
  • self-methods in attempts to fix appearance like hair cutting, shaving, etc.

What Leads to Body Dysmorphia?

The causes of body dysmorphia, like other self-image issues including eating disorders, are unknown. But, it’s believed to be caused by a combination of concurring mental health issues, past experiences, genetics, and issues with brain functionality. Traditionally, people develop body dysmorphia during adolescent years, as this is a crucial time in the beginning of self-image and acceptance. However, this issue can develop at any time of life.

Some things that are believed to contribute to the development of body dysmorphia include:

  • having concurring mental health issues including eating disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, or others
  • history of mental illness within the family
  • experiencing the pressures of social influences and/or peers
  • specific personality characteristics including perfectionism and obsessive thoughts and/or behaviors

Getting Help for Body Dysmorphia

Professional treatment can help individuals living with body dysmorphia understand this illness. And, develop coping strategies in order to overcome the symptoms, negative behaviors, and unhealthy thought patterns that come with this condition. If you or a loved one may be living with body dysmorphia, Delray Center for Healing offers outpatient therapy and treatment for people living with a variety of mental health issues. Find out more about our treatment services and how we can help right on our website.