Acne Dysmorphia Getting Help
Body dysmorphia, technically called body dysmorphic disorder, means you have a negative and distorted image of your body, and a preoccupation with a certain aspect of it you think is ugly. Some websites specializing in acne treatment discuss a condition they call acne dysmorphia. Although acne dysmorphia is not a medically-recognized condition, acne is a common focus of people with body dysmorphic disorder, as noted by an article published in the April 2004 issue of the "Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology."
People with body dysmorphic disorder are overly concerned with minimal or even nonexistent flaws in their appearance. The most common fixations are with the skin, such as acne or scars, and hair, as in hair loss, according to the "Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology" article. Another article, this one published in the Nov. 3, 2001 issue of the "British Medical Journal," notes that the disorder is relatively common but often not recognized. These individuals typically go to nonpsychiatric physicians, such as dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons, not realizing their appearance problems are minor or imaginary.
Acne.org describes a typical person with the condition it calls acne dysmorphia. This person obsessively checks for blemishes, believing his skin is terrible even if his acne is very mild. His unhappiness with his appearance can lead to social isolation. The "British Medical Journal" article notes that an individual can find it difficult to control this obsession and spend many hours a day on examining and attempting to fix their appearance. Body dysmorphic disorder can lead to poor academic or job performance, unemployment and even suicide.
If you think you or someone you know has body dysmorphic disorder related to mild acne problems, recognizing the symptoms is a first step toward getting help. These symptoms indicate the condition may be a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder, as noted by the OCD Center of Los Angeles. The behavior might include repetitive checking for blemishes in a mirror, or, in contrast, avoiding mirrors; repetitive touching or measuring a minor defect; wearing excessive makeup to hide blemishes; refusing to let anyone take your picture and making multiple visits to doctors, particularly dermatologists, trying to obtain treatment that is too extreme for your actual problem.
To talk about your concerns, schedule an appointment with your family doctor or a mental health counselor, advises MayoClinic.com. Because a person with body dysmorphic disorder can benefit most from specialized care, your doctor might refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist after your discussion. Before your appointment, consider your goals for treatment, and make a list of questions you have.
MayoClinic.com offers tips on coping with body dysmorphic disorder. Expressing your feelings by writing in a journal can help. Avoid the tendency to become isolated---participate in normal activities and get together with family and friends on a regular basis. Read reputable self-help books, and talk about the information with your therapist. Join a support group. Importantly, don't make big decisions, such as having cosmetic surgery, when you feel particularly distressed.
Cognitive behavioral therapy and certain antidepressant medications are effective at treating body dysmorphic disorder, according to the "British Medical Journal" article. If you are interested in medication, the "British Medical Journal" notes that serotonin reuptake inhibitors appear effective for most people with this disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you develop a more realistic opinion of your appearance, resist obsessive and compulsive behavior and become more confident about social interaction.
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