Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition that describes individuals who have an extreme preoccupation with a perceived fault in their physical appearance. Individuals suffering from this condition may obsess over certain attributes (nose, muscle size, hair) that they believe makes them ugly. Sometimes they focus on these obsessions so much that they have difficulty leaving the house or socializing. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, here are three methods to help you recover and cope.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
After contacting a mental health professional for assistance, they will typically refer you to a form of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This practice involves restructuring thought patterns by recognizing and intentionally changing ones that are irrational and negative. Therapists will help you to structure more realistic and logical thoughts and to be mindful about what you are thinking and feeling. They will also help you to develop strategies for facing and shifting negative thoughts when they come.
2. Family Therapy
While you’re on a journey of recovery, having the support of your family is extremely important. Therefore, encourage family members to attend therapy sessions with you. This will help them to understand BDD better, to recognize its symptoms and to help you as you develop your coping strategies. Above all else, it will demonstrate the truth that you are not alone and you don’t have to recover in isolation.
In some cases, particularly when CBT isn’t working as effectively as it should, a mental health professional might prescribe medication to help alleviate some of the symptoms of BDD. The medications typically prescribed are a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This can help relieve some of the compulsions you might feel as a result of your BDD.
Most importantly, it’s crucial to seek help from a mental health professional when choosing what coping strategy is best for you. They hold expertise and understanding to help you feel support on your journey towards well-being.
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