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Body Image Disorder and Addiction

Recovery is Possible

Mental illness is one of the primary reasons people turn to drugs and alcohol, and we have a massive addiction epidemic here in New Jersey. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and trauma, but there’s another disorder that can lead to addiction as well. There are thousands of people who have co-occurring disorders of addiction as well as body image disorders like body dysmorphic disorder. When treating someone with these two disorders, it’s important to address both the mental illness as well as the addiction.

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental illness where a person’s perception of themself is skewed. Someone with BDD has one or more perceived defects or flaws in their appearance. Oftentimes, this has to do with weight, so it can lead to other disorders such as bulimia or anorexia. While the majority of people with body dysmorphic disorder see themselves as overweight, there are also those who see themselves as having other issues like being too skinny or having flaws in their nose, face, or other parts of their body. 

Some of the symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder may include the following:

  • Being overly preoccupied with a perceived flaw in appearance that others can’t see or see as minor.

  • Spending a lot of time trying to hide perceived flaws with makeup or clothes.

  • Engaging in certain behaviors to try and maintain or fix perceived flaws like checking the mirror in an obsessive way.

  • Having a strong belief that the perceived defect or flaw makes you ugly or deformed.

This type of disorder can be debilitating and lead to symptoms of other forms of mental illness. Those who struggle with BDD also have one or more anxiety disorders. When you’re constantly worrying about your appearance, you can develop Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), panic disorder or a social anxiety disorder. It’s common for people with body dysmorphic disorder to avoid social gatherings so they won’t have to worry about how other people will see them.

How Do Body Image Disorders Lead to Addiction?

Living with a body image disorder can completely take control of your life. Not only does it make you anxious, but it can also make you extremely depressed. Symptoms of depression are more than just chemical imbalances in your brain. In order to be happy and thrive, we need to have self-esteem and build social connections. When someone is struggling with this type of disorder, they don’t think highly of themself, and they lose connections with people in their life. This can lead to the person drinking or using drugs as a way to cope with their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and symptoms of anxiety or depression. Although this may provide some temporary relief, it only makes things worse over time.

Getting Help for Body Image Disorders and Addiction

Enlightened Solutions Detox provides alcohol and drug rehabilitation services in New Jersey. We proudly serve people from Atlantic County, to Camden County, to Gloucester County, and more. The first step in the process is to help you get off of the drugs or alcohol as safely and comfortably as possible. From there, we have a team of highly qualified clinicians who can help provide you with treatment for your body image disorder while you learn new coping skills to manage the stresses of everyday life. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you recover, call us today at 833-233-7336.

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