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Body Dysmorphia: What Is It and How Can You Prevent It from Damaging Your Wellbeing?

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy from Pexels

While most people tend to be somewhat bothered by some physical imperfections, if you don’t like what you see in the mirror and spend a lot of your time obsessing over your physical flaws and tend to take sometimes drastic measures to hide them from others, you could be suffering from body dysmorphia. 

Body dysmorphia is characterized by obsessive thinking about flaws on specific parts of your body or face. These flaws may be exaggerated in your mind or barely noticeable to anybody else, or they could even be imagined completely. Common symptoms include obsessively checking your perceived flaw and trying to minimize or hide it with clothing or makeup. You might even isolate yourself from others. The signs and symptoms can often vary widely between people, and the focus is usually on one specific perceived flaw or body part. 

How Body Dysmorphia Can Affect Your Wellbeing

Body dysmorphia can have a serious impact on your mental health and your daily quality of life. For example, if you refuse to have your picture taken, are constantly changing outfits, go to great lengths to avoid mirrors, and are repeatedly grooming yourself, these could be symptoms of body dysmorphia. Other common symptoms include wearing excessive makeup even when only leaving the house for a short time, choosing clothing to cover the perceived flaw rather than simply wearing what you like, exercising constantly, compulsive dieting, and undergoing plastic surgery.

Where to Get Help

Body dysmorphia will require an accurate, clear diagnosis to make sure that you can get the right treatment. It is commonly misdiagnosed because people with body dysmorphia often hide how they are feeling from others, so it’s important that you are honest and open about your behaviors and feelings with healthcare providers. If you don’t already have a therapist or other mental health care provider, tell your doctor how you are feeling and they will be able to give you an initial evaluation and refer you to an appropriate specialist. 

Improving Your Confidence

As you get therapy and mental health support and begin to learn to accept your flaws, there’s nothing wrong with improving your body confidence if you would like to. For example, if you have always been bothered by your teeth, it’s worth looking into invisible braces just to give you that extra boost of confidence whenever you smile. However, don’t forget that your perceived flaws are probably hardly noticeable to other people and you are fine just as you are. Clear braces have many other benefits to consider, too. For example, you might find that after improving the alignment of your teeth with invisible braces, they will be easier to clean and floss. Learn more about clear and invisible braces at AlignerCo, an orthodontist that will help you find the right type of braces for you. 

Most people have something that they would like to improve on their body, but if you find yourself obsessing about your perceived flaws or avoiding social situations to hide them, you might have body dysmorphia. Speak to your doctor who can help you get the support you need to stop this condition damaging your wellbeing.

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