Teen Body Dysmorphic Disorder Treatment
A psychological disorder in which a person believes they look deformed or extremely ugly (for instance, they believe they have a huge chin or badly scarred skin), when in reality, they look perfectly normal. Although all of us have some awareness and insecurities surrounding our own experiences, this misconception of appearance is so extreme that it causes a person to withdraw from people and social situations, convinced that no one can stand looking at them. Teen body dysmorphic disorder causes such unrest that it becomes extremely disruptive in teens trying to lead a normal life.
What It Looks Like
Although not every person with the disorder will exhibit all of these symptoms, most people will exhibit at least some:
- An obsession with the body or a certain body part, such as the face, nose, eyes, or hair
- Making repeated efforts to mask or hide the body part believed to be deformed
- Constant and excessive grooming and attempts to remedy the appearance
- Low self- esteem, shame, embarrassment
- Near obsession with talking about, avoiding, and/or hiding the body part believed to be deformed
- Exaggerated belief that others are staring at the body part believed to be deformed
- Avoidance of people and social situations
- Eating an extremely restricted diet in efforts to remedy physical appearance
- It’s also common for people with this disorder to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety
The cause of the disorder is not known but some contributing factors, consistently found to be related with the illness include: environmental factors, hereditary links, and brain chemical irregularity or imbalance.
This therapy can be extremely helpful in helping a person gain insight as to the “reality” which others see and which they’re failing to see. A therapist can also help gradually teach a person positive techniques to deal with feelings of inadequacy or disgust with themselves. As a person learns to address their feelings of self more positively, they can begin feeling relief from the constant nagging and overwhelming obsession with the specific body part.
Often medication is shown to have positive results treating a person with the teen body dysmporphic disorder or body image issues, by providing relief from the anxiety related with their misconception of self. The medication can also help treat the symptoms of depression, which are common in people with the disorder. Many times medication can be a great starting point from which a person can gain enough relief to then begin making positive, healthy steps toward recovery, with the help of a therapist.
Is cosmetic surgery an option?
The problem with cosmetic surgery is that often, a person doesn’t get the relief they expect from the procedure. Because the obsession and dislike of the certain body part is not based in reality, a procedure will not necessarily alter their misconception of themselves any more than will another person arguing that they look fine. Because of this, we suggest treating the mental aspects of the illness, rather than the physical.