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Body dysmorphic disorder, an excess of physical complexes

Trastorno dismórfico corporal, un exceso de complejos físicos

When you stand in front of the mirror, what is the first thing you see, the features that make you feel attractive or you stare like a dagger at your supposed physical "flaws"?

If you are in the second group, beware. You could fall prey to body dysmorphic disorder, a mental condition that generates anxiety, low self-esteem, and affects your daily performance.

Know the symptoms and possible solutions to regain your balance and see the real version of you with greater compassion.

And at the end of the post, receive a Guide to maintain your self-esteem for FREE.

Important : This information is not intended to diagnose or offer medical or psychological treatment.

What is body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)

Who has not woken up one day feeling that they have "the ugly high" or with a pimple on the tip of their nose that makes them look like Rudolph the Reindeer?

It is normal that something about your appearance does not like you or makes you feel a little insecure.

Even models and artists admit that they don't like their nose, their teeth or their butt, although any mortal would die looking half as pretty as they are.

The problem is when you spend days, months or years obsessed with changing your appearance . And if you don't succeed, you enter a loop of intrusive thoughts that cause stress, anxiety, and make you spend time and money trying to hide or correct what you don't like.

This is defined as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) that causes you to see aspects of your appearance as abnormal or ugly, while others do not see them in the same way.

The nose, skin, abdomen, genitals, breasts, hair, mouth, hands, feet... are potential sources of contempt for people with BDD.

12 Signs You Might Have Body Dysmorphic Disorder

  1. You live scheming how to improve your body or eliminate a "defect"

  2. You compare your appearance with others.

  3. You ask for approval from your partner, family or friends, even if you don't believe them when they tell you that you look good

  4. Your imperfections cause you anxiety, depression or shame.

  5. You avoid socializing so that no one sees your flaws.

  6. You compulsively look at yourself in mirrors or avoid them altogether.

  7. You refuse to take photos and, if you go out in one, you do not stop looking for "the ugly" in you.

  8. You expend energy camouflaging or covering up perceived flaws.

  9. You go overboard with clothes, makeup, tanning, exercise, accessories, and more.

  10. You plan to have surgeries or have had one, but you still look imperfect

  11. You think that others notice, talk and make fun of your physical defect.

  12. You take a lot of selfies to check your appearance and use apps/filters to improve yourself.

  13. You cause self-harm or have suicidal thoughts because of your appearance.

You may also be interested in: How cellulite psychologically affects women

Who is more prone to BDD?

From 5 to 7.5 million people in the United States alone suffer from BDD, according to a study published by the health and wellness analysis company, Elsevier.

There are two groups at higher risk:

  • Adolescents: it is a stage of profound changes. Comparisons, insecurities and external influences often appear. And, in today's age, they want to look like the perfect internet figures to be accepted in groups or else they feel unworthy and inferior.

  • Women with menopause: women can see and feel that their beauty and youth are running out. Wrinkles arrive, they cannot avoid flaccidity , gray hair, their levels of body fat increase, dry skin, cellulite and with them, insecurities. If you add that hormones alter their emotions, the table is set for the appearance of dysmorphia.

First actions to manage dysmorphic disorder

We are going to give you some guidelines that could help you manage this condition, but it is best to seek help from a psychologist:

  • Don't blame yourself: BDD is not crazy or narcissistic. It is a real psychological disorder that can improve with the right help.

  • Focus on the present: at first it can be difficult, but with practice it works wonders. Involve your senses in what you do or practice a mindfullness meditation (on the internet you get many options).

  • Have self-compassion: studies indicate that speaking with respect and empathy decreases the symptoms of dysmorphia, improves stress and anxiety. How to do it? Talk to yourself as you would with a loved one, accepting yourself as you are.

  • Keep a journal: Recording your thoughts and emotions helps you identify distressing thoughts and their triggers to control them.

  • Stay active : with a walk in the park, the beach or walking close to home, you generate endorphins that improve your mood. Focus on what is around you and if any intrusive thoughts come, don't fight with them, forgive them and let them go.

  • Stop comparing yourself : you are unique and, no matter how hard you try, you will not be the same as other women. Give yourself a social media vacation, and if you're having a hard time, follow only mentally healthy accounts.

  • Avoid alcohol and drugs: they are nervous system depressants that cheer you up, disinhibit and relax you only for a while. But when you return to your natural state, sadness, anxiety, negative thoughts, and social isolation return.

  • Lean on a specialist: nothing you do is better than the help of a specialist. Find a psychologist or psychiatrist who will give you tools to overcome this disorder.

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