Heather Fisher Professional Drug & Alcohol Interventionist

Body Image

A healthy body image means that you feel comfortable in your body and feel good about your appearance. A healthy body image includes having positive self-talk and how you judge your self-worth. Unfortunately, many people, both men and women, don’t feel this way about themselves and struggle with body image or body dysmorphic disorder.

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder in which you cannot stop thinking about your perceived flaws and defects concerning your appearance. These flaws may be minor or nonexistent, but someone struggling with a body image disorder will see these things constantly and struggle to function in daily life due to feeling embarrassment, shame, and anxiety.

What Do Symptoms of a Body Image Disorder Look Like?

When individuals struggle with a body dysmorphic disorder, they may be intensely focused on their weight, body image and spending an extended period checking in their appearance, grooming, or seeking outside validation. Individuals may also seek surgical and cosmetic procedures to try and “fix” themselves. People may be able to get temporary relief or satisfaction after attempting to change their image, but the anxiety, stress, and dissatisfaction with self continue to return and grow.

Symptoms and Warning Signs of a body dysmorphic disorder include:

  • Strong beliefs that you have a defect in your appearance that makes you lesser than
  • The impression that others are constantly taking note of your appearance negatively
  • Constantly comparing your appearance with others
  • Perfectionist tendencies
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Engaging in behaviors both cosmetic and otherwise trying to fix your appearance

Common features people tend to fixate on are.

  • Weight
  • Nose, complexion, wrinkles, acne
  • Hair
  • Muscle size and tone
  • Genitalia

Men struggling with body dysmorphia may feel like their bodies are too small or not muscular enough.

Eating Disorder Screening

Adapted from SCOFF Questionnaire and DSM-5
Responses should be based on behavior over the past 90 days

NOTE: Addiction is progressive, chronic and 100% recoverable when treated.

Disclaimer: This screening is not designed to make a diagnosis or take the place of a professional diagnosis
consultation. Use this brief screening tool to help determine if further action is recommended.
For help in selecting the proper level of treatment in your area please contact our office.

Causes of Body Dysmorphia

Body image issues typically start in late adolescence and can be a result of a few different factors. Children who grow up with adults who exhibit and encourage dieting and restrictive behaviors or emphasize weight are more likely to struggle with body image. Other adverse experiences such as teasing, neglect, or abuse may contribute to struggles as well. Individuals with an underlying or pre-diagnosed mental health condition such as anxiety or depression are also at higher risk of developing body image issues.

Other Negative Effects and Complications

  • Developing anxiety and depression or social phobia
  • Participating in substance abuse to control weight and unwanted obsessive thoughts.
  • Physical pain
  • Development of a more severe eating disorder
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

Combating Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Individuals of all shapes and sizes, genders, and different walks of life deserve to feel safe and at home in their own bodies. If negative thoughts, compulsions, and attitudes surrounding body image impact your quality of life, it may be time to get help. If you notice a loved one is engaging in unhealthy, risky behaviors and jeopardizing their livelihood and wellbeing, figuring out how to approach them with compassion, love and offering resources for help could be essential to their safety.