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Poor Body Image? Or Symptoms of Body Dysmorphia?

Not long ago, before the social media age, there wasn’t the same kind of pressure to have the “perfect” body. Sure, there were magazine pictures and actors in movies, but it wasn’t constantly in our face at all times. 

Social media creates this 24/7 feed of people living the perfect life, looking the perfect way, and having it all. Or so it seems. It can be hard to fight against this pressure in your own head.

You work on yourself and make sure to get proper nutrition. You feel better all around. Friends and family notice positive changes. Unfortunately, no matter how far things move in a productive  direction, you still don’t feel that it’s enough. 

Are you experiencing poor body image? Are these symptoms of body dysmorphia? Let’s take a look. 

Poor Body Image

woman looking in the mirror

Body image pertains to how a person views their own body and what feelings revolve around that viewpoint. When you have a positive body image, you’re satisfied with your body. It doesn’t phase your mental health or your general happiness. 

Poor body image, on the other hand, points to a dissatisfaction with your body. Having concerns about your body isn’t uncommon, whether it’s about weight, height, skin, or a certain body attribute. When this image starts to become problematic, it can actually be body dysmorphia. 

What is Body Dysmorphia?

Body dysmorphia is when you have an inaccurate and distorted image of yourself. The poor body image relates to some unrealistic or untrue, but believable view.

This inaccurate view is very persistent and causes you to become fixated on that one singular flaw, which nine times out of ten will not be noticeable to others. 

What Causes Body Dysmorphia?

Establishing one source of body dysmorphia is nearly impossible. There isn’t usually only one singular cause. Potential causes or triggers can include: 

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • societal pressure
  • unrealistic standards
  • bullying
  • abuse
  • familial history of body issues

What are the Symptoms of Body Dysmorphia?

An early red flag that there is a struggle with body dysmorphia is frequent conversation about yourself and your body. Typically, this is negatively charged talk. 

Words like ugly or disgusting are used as common descriptors. There is also common talk about a particular body part that you’re unhappy with. Body areas that are a key focus for someone with body dysmorphia include complexion, hair, weight, height, arms, legs, mid-section, and scars or blemishes. 

Body dysmorphia can lead to extreme actions to “fix” the perceived problem. This can turn into obsession over losing weight, hiding imperfections, changing hair color, or trialing any and every fad diet or style trend. 

When you’re living with body dysmorphia, symptoms can look like:

  • avoiding mirrors
  • disliking pictures being taken
  • extreme workout routines
  • wearing abnormal clothing for the weather or circumstance
  • limiting social engagements
  • comparing your body to others
  • obsessing about your appearance
  • seeking validation from others to feel good
  • spending extra time on hygiene practices

In some circumstances, this disorder can lead to permanent procedures or surgeries, which may not have the desired end result. These are also practices that cannot be undone once the dysmorphia is healed. 

Treatment for Body Dysmorphia

For many living with body dysmorphia, it may not be an obvious problem. For others, it’s a struggle they deal with everyday. It’s a heavy burden to have and can make quality of life poor. 

Thankfully, body dysmorphia is something that is treatable. There are many options available that can be solved with the help of a professional. At the end of the day, the main goal is to change the negative thought processes to positive ones. 

If you’re struggling with your own body dysmorphia, contact us to help you overcome it and learn more about eating disorders

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