Body Dysmorphia

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Children with ADHD and anxiety appear to experience more emotional dysregulation than their peers. While they experience the same emotions as individuals their age, they experience them much more frequently and intensely. They may be more likely to get stuck and caught up in their emotion due to difficulties with executive functioning skills and seeing the bigger picture.

Source: Understood.org

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Body Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia is a psychiatric condition characterized by an excessive preoccupation with individual flaws in appearance that involves repetitive behavior such as checking one’s appearance in the mirror, repeatedly grooming, skin picking, or seeking reassurance. These flaws or defects are often not recognized by other people. (Krebs et al., 2017). Approximately 2 out of 100 adolescents and adults have the disorder (Krebs et al., 2017). The age this disorder tends to begin to develop is around 16. Body dysmorphia is thought to develop from a mix of genetic predispositions and environmental stress, such as childhood abuse, teasing, or bullying. This obsession with defects causes significant distress and functional impairment. Adults with body dysmorphia tend to experience social isolation, dysfunction, and occupational impairment. Children and adolescents with the disorder tend to withdraw socially and perform more poorly in school than their peers (Krebs et al., 2017). Body dysmorphia disorder is classified under obsessive-compulsive and related disorders in the DSM-5 as it is often found to be dually diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Males also experience this disorder and are more likely to meet criteria for muscle dysmorphia, a subtype specifier of the disorder which involves the beliefs that one’s body is built too small or not muscular enough. Muscle dysmorphia is males is associated with increased risk for substance abuse, suicide, poorer quality of life and steroid abuse. Treatments for body dysmorphic disorder aim at reducing obsessiveness about appearance, creating a realistic sense of what one looks like, and acceptance of perceived flaws so the preoccupation doesn’t take over someone’s life. Successful treatment of the disorder is possible although many people with the disorder are afraid if they accept themselves their physical appearance would deteriorate. Often the first step is to understand that it is not the obsessive preoccupation that motivates people to a healthy level of self-care. Rather, the distress actually can create significant impairments in all areas of someone’s life and there can be a healthy balance of taking care of the physical body, acceptance, and living a happy, productive life.

Krebs G, Fernández de la Cruz L, Mataix-Cols D. (2017). Recent advances in understanding and managing body dysmorphic disorder. Evidence-Based Mental Health, 20, 71-75. Retrieved from https://ebmh.bmj.com/content/20/3/71

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