It may be that you feel you have something amiss with your physical appearance which dominates your thinking. When severe it is referred to as body dysmorphia which is an anxiety related condition about body image. You may develop rituals or routines to deal with the worries that you have about your appearance. The anxiety can distort any minor concern into a pre-occupying obsession. Counselling can help you address the anxiety.
Possible Signs of Body Dysmorphia
- You may experience negative/ intrusive thoughts about one specific area or several areas of your body
- Body checking- either by touch or excessively examining and criticising your appearance in front of the mirror
- Asking for constant reassurance about image
- Exercising excessively/ frequent weighing
- Comparing yourself to others – people on the street, models, celebrities and/ or social media
- May be linked to eating disorders
- Feeling that you are out of proportion/ too big /too small
- Body dysmorphia can lead to avoidance of social and public situations
- You may go to great lengths to hide the part of your body that you are not happy with.
- The most common concerns are with the nose, the hair, the skin, the chin, the lips or the overall body build
If you are experiencing body dysmorphia you may feel:
- shame, guilt or loneliness
- disgust about yourself/ the area of your physical appearance that you perceive to be flawed
- like you need unnecessary medical procedures, such as cosmetic surgery
- constantly depressed or anxious
- like you have isolated yourself because of your compulsive behaviour around your appearance
- depressed or anxious
Accepting that you need help and support is the first step to recovery, but this may be a very difficult step to take as you may feel very invested in the behaviour surrounding your body dysmorphia. People who feel that they are experiencing body dysmorphia can helpfully explore and understand the underlying anxieties and feelings that are contributing to their behaviour. This can help make changes to diffuse the anxiety connected with the aspect of their appearance that is troubling them and can be done through a course of counselling.
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