Body Dysmorphia (BDD) And Addiction
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a disruptive illness that can completely debilitate an individual’s ability to function, especially when it is present along with addiction. The co-occurence of these disorders can lead to denial—and, if left untreated, severe consequences.
What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)/Body Dysmorphia?
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), also known as Body Dysmorphia, is a mental illness in which a person develops a distressing or impairing preoccupation with presumed physical flaws. The perceived defects can be small or hardly noticeable by others. Body Dysmorphia is disruptive and can completely debilitate an individual’s ability to function, especially when it is present along with addiction.
Body Dysmorphia was considered rare until recently. Today, the disorder affects about 10 million people in the United States and is more prevalent than schizophrenia or anorexia nervosa. The disease’s actual cause is unknown, but a combination of risk factors plays a role in its development. BDD risks range from environmental, psychological, to biological conditions.
Possible causes of BDD include:
- Child neglect
- Family history of obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Low self-esteem
- Critical parents
- Experience of traumatic events
- Societal pressures
- Personality type
Actions or experiences that create consistent feelings of inadequacy and shame during childhood are correlated to Body Dysmorphia.
Signs and Symptoms of Body Dysmorphia (BDD)
The onset of the disease typically begins in adolescence and affects men and women equally. As BDD progresses, the development of one or more body-focused repetitive behaviors or mental acts is common. The actions can be compulsive and irrational, but they are always in response to physical appearance.
Common symptoms and warning signs of BDD include:
- Hair pulling
- Skin picking
- Excessive grooming
- Mirror checking
- Reassurance seeking
- Touching the perceived defect
- Avoiding mirrors
- Constant comparisons to others
- Measuring flaws
- Expressing hatred, disgust, or general dissatisfaction with their appearance
- Minimizing contact with others
- Exuberant amounts of money spent on cosmetic surgery, beauty products, and grooming products
People suffering from BDD may show a combination of different behaviors at a varied frequency. To cope with these habits, many self-medicate and develop a substance abuse disorder.
Addiction and Body Dysmorphia (BDD)
Like heart disease and cancer, addiction is an illness that can affect anyone. People with Body Dysmorphia have a higher risk of developing an addiction disorder. Many choose to self-medicate as a way to deal with their emotional distress which can lead to drug abuse. The US National Library of Medicine found that substance abuse disorders are 2% to 13% more likely in individuals with BDD. Researchers also discovered that 68% of subjects suffering from addiction reported that BDD contributed to their dependency.
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Body Dysmorphia (BDD), Bodybuilding and Steroids Misuse
Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder (MDD) is a type of BDD where the individual focuses on the belief that they are not muscular or lean enough. This form of BDD is common in sports wrestling, health clubs, and bodybuilding gyms. A person who practices “normal” bodybuilding does not necessarily have a distorted body image. It is common for people affected with MDD to take supplements to achieve their desired look. Once regular supplements stop “working,” many begin to misuse anabolic steroids or growth hormones. Research estimates about three million people habitually misuse steroids. The number of chronic steroids and growth hormones users in American gyms is between 15% – 30%.
Cocaine Dependency to Stay Skinny
Cocaine is an appetite suppressant. For people suffering from Body Dysmorphia, Cocaine dependency is a common way users achieve and maintain their extreme weight loss goals. Chronic cocaine abuse disrupts a user’s metabolic processes, resulting in weight loss caused by a lack of fat intake and storage. The metabolic imbalance can also lead to a dysfunction in fat regulation. During Cocaine Addiction recovery, the sudden weight gain due to the body’s fat regulation’s malfunction can cause intense distress and lead to a recovering user’s relapse.
Hallucinogens and Body Dysmorphia
People suffering from Body Dysmorphia can become addicted to Hallucinogens. By ingesting psilocybin fungi (shrooms) or LSD, users can ease their image distortion symptoms. As a result, people with BDD who view themselves as “ugly” are at a risk of becoming addicted to Hallucinogens. Hallucinogens provide users dealing with BDD an escape from their destructive thoughts.
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Treatment for Body Dysmorphia (BDD) and Addiction
Regardless of how many risk factors are present, treatment is still possible for a person afflicted with BDD and addiction. An individual’s past or high-risk probability does not determine their future. Treatment varies based on an individual’s needs and their healthcare provider’s recommendations. Typical goals include detoxing the body, correcting an individual’s false beliefs about themselves, and minimizing compulsive behavior.
There are many forms of treatment available, but usual treatments for BDD include:
- Cognitive therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Medication-Assisted Treatment
- Group Therapy
- Family Therapy
The best treatment results occur with a combination of talk therapies and medications. When seeking treatment, individuals can opt for inpatient or outpatient rehab. Inpatient rehabilitation facilities provide patients medical supervision, medication, and access to support groups. Outpatient rehab offers counseling and other programs on a less restricted scheduled. Inpatient rehab is an amazing option for people ready to invest time and effort into recovery. Outpatient rehab is an excellent option for people interested in maintaining their regular schedule. When choosing between the two, it is best to remember that outpatient treatment typically has a lower success rate than inpatient rehab.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get Help for BDD and Addiction Now
The first step towards recovery is acknowledging the need for help. With the aid of a treatment provider, recovery from BDD and addiction can be achieved. Contact a dedicated treatment provider today to help guide you towards recovery. These specialists have years of experience dealing with substance abuse disorders and can help you find the right rehabilitation facility. If you are ready to regain control of your life from BDD and addiction, get in touch with someone who can help you today.