What is dysmorphophobia?
Few of us are completely satisfied with our appearance. It would seem, the nose could be shorter, lips puffy or legs slimmer. However, we are not occupied with thoughts of nose, lips and legs all 24 hours a day. We looked at ourselves in the mirror, sighed, and forgot. But not all of us do this. There is a disorder called "dysmorphophobia ", thoughts of non-ideal parts of the body’s patient do not leave. Moreover, the peculiarity of this disorder is that the object of close attention of the patient can be quite normal.
. The causes of dysmorphophobia
are currently being closely studied, and, according to recent studies, the roots of the disease lie in a combination of genetic, social, cultural and psychological factors. Persons suffering from dysmorphophobia have a very specific behavior model. They feel anxiety among the people around them because of fear that an imaginary defect will be noticed. They develop an obsession with resorting to any measures and means in order to get rid of the alleged bodily imperfection.
It should be noted that dysmorphophobia is a fairly common disease that affects more people than expected (about 3% of the total population). Men and women suffer from dysmorphophobia equally, very often this condition occurs already in adolescence. Scientific studies indicate that dysmorphophobia "blooms" with:
- excessive focus on appearance;
- trends towards perfectionism;
- negative attitude to your own aesthetic image;
- increased aesthetic sensitivity;
- neglect by parents in childhood.
Symptoms of Dysmorphophobia
Patients with dysmorphophobia can study themselves in the mirror for hours or vice versa, categorically avoid mirrors, and try to avoid crowded places. Seeking help from a plastic surgeon in such patients is pointless, since their defects are imaginary. Patients constantly sit on restrictive diets, engage in physical activity in a merciless manner, which jeopardizes the quality of everyday life, work and relationships. In the absence of adequate psychological assistance and treatment, dysmorphophobia can lead to serious consequences, including depression and suicidal thoughts.
The specialist determines the presence of problems if the patient:
- shows excessive concern regarding physical defects that are not objectively detected by other people;
- has special mental attitudes (constantly compares himself with others, likes to condemn);
- experiencing stress, anxiety, depressed mood;
- constantly concerned about his/her body weight.
The prognosis of the disease largely depends on the patient's willpower. Early diagnosis contributes to a successful cure. Unfortunately, preventive measures against dysmorphophobia do not exist.
Treatment consists of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. For best results, doctors advise you to avoid drinking alcohol (since its use worsens the symptoms); avoid social exclusion; keep a diary in which to write down what causes moments of anxiety and that, on the contrary, reduces them; learn a relaxation technique that will help relieve stress in the most difficult moments of the disease.