Body Dysmorphia: Symptoms and Treatment

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder where one intensely focuses on appearance and body image, and cannot stop thinking about perceived defects and flaws. These flaws are minor and cannot be seen by others. The individual may feel so ashamed, anxious, and embarrassed that social interactions are avoided. These symptoms can cause extreme distress, be extremely time consuming, be disruptive, and cause serious problems in one’s work, school, and social life. Some may experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Both men and women can struggle with body dysmorphic disorder.

Symptoms of body dysmorphia can include:

  • A strong belief that you have a defect in your appearance that causes you to feel deformed and ugly
  • Engagement of behaviors that are difficult to resist or control such as frequently checking the mirror, skin picking, and grooming
  • Seeking cosmetic procedures but gaining little satisfaction
  • Constantly comparing your appearance to others
  • Often seeking reassurance from others about your appearance

Body dysmorphic disorder affects both males and females and typically starts in the early teenage years.

Risk factors include:

  • Societal pressure and expectations of beauty
  • Negative life experiences such as abuse
  • Having another mental health disorder

Shame and embarrassment are often associated with body dysmorphia and that may keep one from seeking treatment. Body dysmorphic disorder can last for years or be lifelong. If left untreated, it can get worse over time, so it is important that the disorder is identified and treated.

If you or someone you know is struggling with body dysmorphic disorder, please contact our psychotherapy/psychiatry offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353938

https://www.healthshots.com/mind/mental-health/everything-you-need-to-know-about-body-dysmorphic-disorder/

Image Source

https://www.healthshots.com/mind/mental-health/everything-you-need-to-know-about-body-dysmorphic-disorder/

Self-Harm: What You Need To Know

About 17% of all people will self-harm during their lifetime, however the actual rate is likely higher than this because of the shame and stigma that surrounds self-harm. Individuals self-harm as a way to deal with difficult feelings, or overwhelming situations and experiences, and can include cutting, burning, and scratching oneself. Self-harm can be difficult to understand, and can sometimes be confused with suicide attempts. Self-harm and suicide attempts are not the same thing, however, there is a strong association between the two. One common stereotype of self-harm is that it is “attention seeking”. The reality is that most self-harm is done in secrecy, and individuals often feel ashamed to ask for help.

There are several self-harm risk factors. These include struggling with mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, drug and alcohol use or addiction, and eating disorders. Self-harming can become physically addictive, as it is habit-forming, and individuals can come to rely on it as a coping mechanism for what they are going through.

Sharing your feelings with someone that you trust can help you self-harm less and feel less alone. If someone has disclosed to you that they engage in self-harm, it is important to be patient and educate yourself on why people self-harm and what you can do to help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with self-harm, please contact our psychotherapy/psychiatry offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/self-harm/about-self-harm/

https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/self-harm/self-harm-statistics/

https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-symptoms/self-harm/

Image Source

https://rcni.com/nursing-children-and-young-people/careers/research-and-commentary/improving-nursing-care-of-children-and-young-people-who-self-harm-81661

Eating Disorders Part 5: Eating Disorders among Latina Women

By: Abby Erasmus

Latina women are caught between two cultures and are therefore at risk of experiencing acculturative stress (a term discussed in “Eating Disorders: Part 4”). As mentioned previously, increased acculturative stress is linked to an increase in eating- related pathology, thus disordered eating patterns are not uncommon among Latina women. The rate of occurrence of eating disorders among Latina women is equivalent to the rate of the general population of U.S. females; however, anorexia nervosa (AN) is rarely noted in Eating Disorder (ED) studies in regard to Latina women. This does not mean AN does not exist among Latina Women, AN is just thought to be the least prevalent in the community. Researchers have found that bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED) are the most common, with lifetime prevalence rates of 2% to 2.3-2.7% respectively. Further, researchers have identified key differences in the presentation of both dietary restriction and drive for thinness in comparison to European- American white women. Latina women are less likely to engage in dietary restriction, and if they do, it is often followed by a binge- eating episode. Latina women also find themselves caught between the thin ideal belonging to Western culture and the curvy but flat- stomached ideal belonging to the Latinx community, and these conflicting body image ideals can result in disordered eating behaviors. Additionally, and quite similarly to Asian American culture, food is the love language of the Latinx community, yet, similarly to Asian American women, these women will be scrutinized for gaining weight. Latina women also experience the paradox, and providers should keep this paradox in mind to understand root causes of EDs within the Latinx community.

Binge eating within the Latinx community is associated with significant levels of distress as well as psychopathology, and is often accompanied by obesity. Despite reporting significant levels of distress, the majority of Latina women do not seek treatment, and when they do, they often refer to primary care doctors in which obesity is the only thing that gets identified. Their ED goes unnoticed. In order to correctly diagnose EDs among Latina women, providers must understand the high prevalence rates of BED, BN, and binge- eating behaviors within the population which, in turn, can result in obesity. Once the ED is addressed, obesity can be addressed. Again, with cultural competency added into the equation of treatment, Latina women’s EDs will be correctly diagnosed and they will receive proper treatment.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://yourlatinanutritionist.com/blog/eating-disorders-among-latinas

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2680162/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4078895/

Eating Disorders; How Stress Impacts Eating Disorders

By: Jillian Hoff

Stressful situations often can cause individuals to lean on food to cope. When someone has an eating disorder any stressful situation could possibly be one of the triggers for them. It is known that these individuals tend to have an increased desire to binge eat or restrict their diet so that they can feel more in control. This sense of stability to them is a means of a stress reliever. While stress in itself is not healthy for a person, the result of an eating disorder also tends to create problems for a person’s health. Eating disorders can often cause the individual to have a constant worry about their weight and the food that they are eating. At times this constant worry could lead to anxiety, low self-esteem and even depression. It is important especially for individuals who suffer from an eating disorder to find other ways to cope with stress so that they can try to decrease the chance of either binging or restricting food.

Some ways they can cope would to be to have some type of social support system. This would be someone that the individual can talk to at any time whether it is for emotional or financial help. The individual can also choose to focus on calming strategies like meditation or breathing exercises.  Writing down positive messages to yourself would also be a good coping mechanism especially due to the negative thoughts that they might feel due to their eating disorder. Some lifestyle changes could also help. This would include practicing time-management skills so that one does not feel overwhelmed. Also, by trying something new each day it could be used as a way to get your mind off any stressors in your life.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mirasol.net/learning-center/chronic-stress.php

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder/stress-binge-eating-disorder

Eating disorders: How You Can Help a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders: How You Can Help a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

By: Hallie Katzman

Diet culture and body idealization are staples in society that often encourage people to overthink and become hyperaware of their body image, potentially leading to unhealthy relationships with food and exercise. Due to a combination of genetic and sociocultural factors, unfortunately eating disorders are very common and affect at least 9% of the population. Eating disorders take a strong mental, emotional and physical toll on peoples’ bodies. These symptoms can be scary or distressing for not only the person experiencing the symptoms firsthand, but also for their loved ones. Watching someone you care about struggle can make you feel helpless and worried.

Fortunately, there are supportive ways to help your loved one begin or continue their recovery journey. First, ask them if you can be involved in their eating disorder treatment to let them know that you are there for them and that you support them. Once the supportive, nonjudgmental relationship is fully established, you can consider encouraging them to go to therapy. This could mean group therapy, inpatient therapy or outpatient one on one therapy sessions with a mental health specialist. Additionally, supporting a loved one can be stressful or exhausting. Remember to take care of yourself and your own mental health as well. Be gentle towards your loved one and towards yourself and remember to not lose hope. Recovery is not always a linear process and the road to recovery may not always be easy, but it is possible.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or other mental health concerns, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New Jersey or New York to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at 201-368-3700 or 212-722-1920 to schedule an appointment. Please visit our website http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ for more information.

Sources: https://www.rtor.org/2017/02/07/dos-and-donts-eating-disorder-recovery/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxJqHBhC4ARIsAChq4au6fNUoIaQpHAwoyO3zvaQaUIPU4IdKB3ioYw5c3kEWhV58aJny_iEaAqtuEALw_wcB

https://anad.org/get-informed/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxJqHBhC4ARIsAChq4atr2S1zgAy3MNj0_y9dXTNv7I6ObnrlxezDutSZg5l9CQrMwknDpQcaAlWGEALw_wcB

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/s/photos/support

Diet Culture

Diet Culture

By Asha Shetler

                Diets have a 98% failure rate, yet “diet culture” has taken over our world. Diet and weight loss culture in a nutshell? Thinness is beauty, health, and success. Body positivity in a nutshell? The truth: that any body can represent beauty, health, and success. This diet culture, in addition to undermining the body positivity movement, can destroy one’s mental health and/or self-esteem. It tells us that no matter what we look like, we are too fat and we should lose weight; that our bodies are not beautiful and not healthy. Diet culture is reflected in our daily language, in Barbie’s tiny waist, in social media filters, in who’s popular and who’s not. The U.S. weight loss market was an astounding  $72.7 billion in 2018, and is predicted to only grow. Clearly, being fed these lies that spawn from diet culture can make us very self-conscious and sometimes even self-loathing. It sets us up to feel like a failure, as well as normalizes and even encourages disordered eating, such as anorexia or bulimia. So, what can we do to reject this culture? Some of the best approaches are practicing self-compassion and intuitive eating (asking yourself what you need to help you feel best in your body.) If you or someone you know is struggling with diet culture or body image, therapy could be a helpful option for you.   

Sources:

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a35036808/what-is-diet-culture/

https://www.health.com/mind-body/body-positivity/escaping-diet-culture

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Eating Disorders and Family Relationships

The emotional impact of eating disorders on families

Eating Disorders: Eating Disorders and Family Relationships

By. Alexis Yennie

Different eating disorders, whether it be anorexia nervosa or bulimia, all eat away at different relationships that we have in our lives, such as family, friends and loved ones. The main reason that we are alive on this planet is because of the relationships/human connections that we have with others. When eating disorders appear, they can diminish and break down these relationships causing negative thoughts and behaviors to surround everything around you. The more progression that eating disorders make on an individual, the more negative effects take place on not only them, but those around them as well.

Eating disorders are known to create feelings of isolation, hopelessness and separation. It is very common for loved ones to feel as though they have lost someone, when they watch someone they care about battle with an eating disorder. Though at one point there might have been a very strong bond between people, eating disorders tend to destroy any chance of hope/love a person might have for others; as these hopelessness/loveless emotions rise, the people that once cared for the person battling the eating disorder, eventually break off, due to feelings of hopelessness, or even the feeling of being replaced by the vicious monster inside of them

Family members of individuals that are suffering with eating disorders, know that your presence is wanted, even though it might not always seem like it and it does make a difference to them. Loving someone at this point in their life, might just be the encouragement that they need to fight for their life. Recovery is possible and never lose hope. Relationships can be fixed, and recovery is beautiful.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or family relationships pertaining to their eating disorders, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or psychotherapist at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ  or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Image Source: https://www.sovteens.com/health-and-wellness/emotional-impact-eating-disorders-families/

Sources: https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/treatment-for-eating-disorders/family-role/how-eating-disorders-can-affect-relationships

 

Body Image: Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Image: Body Dysmorphic Disorder
By Kaitlyn Choi

Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder that is marked by fixation on one’s imaginary or minor physical flaws. People who have body dysmorphia are overly worried about what are perceived as overt imperfections in their appearance. They continue to experience negative and anxious thoughts about their face, hair, and/or body. However, in reality, these perceived flaws are hardly noticeable by other people; there may not be any “defect” in their physical appearance at all. The amount of concern experienced by the individual is considerably disproportionate to the flaw they are obsessing over.

Symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder include preoccupation to the point of significant distress, impairment in functioning, or isolating oneself due to self-consciousness and insecurity. Moreover, people with body dysmorphia exhibit performance of repetitive behaviors such as mirror checking, excessive grooming, and skin picking. They may also seek reassurance from other people and compare their appearance with that of others throughout the day. Because they believe their physical flaw is so gross and noticeable, they may constantly try to “fix” these flaws by consulting with plastic surgeons or cosmetic professionals.

Primary treatments for body dysmorphic disorder include cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressant medication. The goal of treatment is to recognize the triggers of the behaviors/thoughts, to improve management of the stress experienced, and to help patients learn to view themselves in a non-judgmental way.

In a society that glorifies only certain face and body types, many individuals can feel overwrought about their appearance and consequently experience symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder. It is crucial that individuals learn to love themselves and perceive themselves in a self-encouraging manner.

If you or someone you know is struggling with body image or body dysmorphia, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9888-body-dysmorphic-disorder

Image Source:
https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-related-body-dysmorphic-disorder/

Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders, ADHD, Et al: How to Support a Friend with Mental Illness

By: Sarah Cohen

When helping a friend with a mental illness, the first step should be assessment of their symptoms. Sometimes they just might be going through a difficult time, but if certain common symptoms associated with mental health issues persist it is imperative to respond sensitively. Majority of the time, friends will just want to know they have your support and that you care about them. A good way to show your support is by talking to them. If you provide a non-judgmental space for them to speak about their issues it will help encourage them to be open with their problems. Let them lead the conversation and don’t pressure them to reveal information. It can be incredibly difficult and painful to speak about these issues and they might not be ready to share everything. If you aren’t their therapist do not diagnose them or make assumptions about how they are feeling, just listen and show you understand. If someone doesn’t want to speak with you, don’t take it personally, just continue to show them you care about their wellbeing and want to help as much as possible. Just knowing they have support can give them the strength they need to contact someone who can help them.

If a friend is having a crisis, such as a panic attack or suicidal thoughts, you must stay calm. Try not to overwhelm them by asking a lot of questions and confronting them in a public setting. Ask them gently what would be helpful to them right now or reassure them. If they hurt themselves, get first aid as soon as possible. If someone is suicidal, contact the suicide hotline at 800-237-8255 immediately.

The best way to help someone is by connecting them to professional help. By expressing your concern and support you can show them that they can get help and their mental health problems can be treated.

If you or someone you know needs support with their mental illness, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/supporting-someone-mental-health-problem

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/friends-family-members

The Effect of Social Media and Eating Disorders

By: Sarah Cohen

Eating disorders are extremely serious and often deadly illnesses that include severe disturbances in eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. There have been numerous studies in which mass media consumption of the “thin ideal body” has been linked to eating disorders among women. Pressure from media has led to women and men internalizing the “thin ideal body” and led to extreme body dissatisfaction which can then lead to eating disorders. While the effect is smaller among men, they are still being subjected to pressure.

Studies have shown “significant change in the weight and size of female and male models portrayed throughout the media in western society and the concept of the ‘perfect or ideal body’.” This explains “why many adolescents are preoccupied with their bodies and dissatisfied with their body image and are willing to try a variety of dangerous weight-loss practices in their quest for the perfect body.”

Most people are usually not aware the amount of manipulation and digital editing done in the fashion industry to create ‘ideal’ female and male bodies. These false images encourage unrealistic and unhealthy standards that are impossible to attain. One study focused on body concerns in girls 16 years old and tried to understand the underlying motivations to be skinny. The element that exerted the largest pressure to be smaller was the media. Another study measured indicators of eating disorders in a population of young Fijian girls after the addition of Western television to their routine. The indicators of eating disorders were exceptionally more prevalent after extended television viewing, demonstrating a negative impact of media. A large component of the data recorded was the theme of subjects describing a new interest in weight loss as a method of modelling themselves after the television characters they viewed.

In order to prevent the effect of social media on disordered eating, here are three tips: choose what media you view and participate in carefully, limit the amount of exposure you have, and test each media’s message for body positivity by asking critical questions about what information they are attempting to spread.

If you or someone you know needs support with their marriage, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792687/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792687/

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/media-eating-disorders

Tiggemann M, Gardiner M, Slater A. “I would rather be size 10 than have straight A’s”: A focus group study of adolescent girls’ wish to be thinner. J Adolesc. 2000;23:645–59.

Becker AE, Burwell RA, Gilman SE, Herzog DB, Hamburg P. Eating behaviours and attitudes following exposure to television among ethnic Fijian adolescent girls. Br J Psychiatry. 2002;180:509–14.