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Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Addiction

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Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Addiction

Body dysmorphic disorder is a serious mental illness that can cause an individual to go to extreme measures to improve upon aspects of their appearance that they dislike. There is no specific cause of this disorder, however, there are a few factors that can spark its development. This includes changes in brain chemistry, genetics, and environment. As a result, an individual with body dysmorphic disorder can become predisposed to developing addiction problems.

How Does Body Dysmorphic Disorder Cause Addiction?

Body dysmorphic is a complex disorder; the everyday life of an individual who has it can be centered on their appearance. As a result, many of the symptoms of this disorder often serve as the catalyst for addiction development. Some of the symptoms that can turn around and cause addiction include the following:

Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Addiction
  • Avoiding social situations – Someone with body dysmorphic disorder is often so uncomfortable with his physical appearance, that he avoids social situations because of his lack of self-esteem. As a result, he might begin abusing drugs and/or alcohol to drown out the loneliness they feel from isolating themselves.
  • Little satisfaction – Many individuals who have body dysmorphic disorder get numerous plastic surgery procedures or are always looking to change their appearance. It is common for these individuals to never be satisfied with their appearance, even after tweaking it. As a result, they can experience anger, irritability, and embarrassment that can all lead to the development of an addiction problem as they attempt to cope with feelings of inadequacy.
  • Social pressure – This disorder can cause an individual to be more sensitive to social pressure than others. This means that they are more likely to do things in order to fit in, including abusing drugs and/or alcohol. As a result, these individuals have a higher risk of developing an addiction in response to social pressure, which is intensified by their psychological issues spurred on by their body dysmorphic disorder.

Individuals who struggle with body dysmorphic disorder are also likely to suffer from addiction as a result of many of their symptoms, such as social avoidance, little satisfaction with their appearance, and increased social pressures.

Treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Addiction

Having a simultaneous body dysmorphic disorder and addiction problem is referred to as a Dual Diagnosis. Dual Diagnosis describes when an individual is experiencing a mental health condition as well as addiction. Despite the complexity of this issue, an individual can get treatment at a Dual Diagnosis facility, where he can address his physical health first and then work on his psychological issues. He can also receive treatment for both issues separately as well as simultaneously to help encourage continued growth and relapse prevention.

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