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The Calvary of Dysmorphobia

How to detect and help overcome this disorder with the help of psychologists and aesthetic surgeons

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The Calvary of Dysmorphobia
woman make up mirror

They feel bad in their body. They look ugly. They live preoccupied with non-existent defects and in a constant psychological martyrdom for small, barely visible imperfections. They are prey to stress, discouragement and depressed feelings, which leads to feelings of shame, guilt or loneliness. They usually isolate themselves and avoid situations that cause them anxiety or psychological distress, causing a psychosocial, labor and affective deterioration.

This profile of a patient with dysmorphophobia, developed by the aesthetic surgeon Jordi Mir, reflects an authentic torment, beyond the obsession to spend the hours looking in the mirror, sharing selfies and undergoing aesthetic treatments of all kinds. People with body dysmorphic disorder never look good. It is not enough for them to go through the operating room, neither one nor those that are necessary. Their problem is not in the hands of the best surgeon, since, as Mir explains from Dorsia Clinics, they are never happy with the result obtained and usually sue their doctors for what they consider professional malpractice.

«They are people who seek their well-being through surgical intervention. Before the negative response of a surgeon, they will look for another surgeon to obtain that so desired intervention. They are not aware of their pathology, deny their problems and believe that intervention after intervention will feel better and it is not so, on the contrary, they chronify their problem ». With these words the Catalan surgeon explains the reason why a person with this pathology should never be intervened, which is no other than a mental problem, which must be treated by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Do you have a cure? The answer is not simple since each case has very particular characteristics. What is achieved with adequate therapeutic help is to reduce the levels of discomfort considerably. The psychologist Pilar Conde assures us that she has seen how treated patients are less concerned about this or that wrinkle, ask less often about their physical appearance or reduce their time in front of the mirror.

Beyond the benefits of the treatment, the technical director of Clínicas Origen stresses the importance of prevention in this society in which the cult of the image occupies a privileged place. Adolescence and the beginning of adulthood are critical times in those people, regardless of sex, self-demanding and whose self-esteem depends on a high percentage of their physical appearance. Special attention must be devoted, adds the expert, to those moments in life in which an important event can trigger a crisis of self-esteem: break-ups, dismissals or physical changes.

Several are the tips that the psychologist leaves so that we can help those who have problems with their image, coming to suffer corporal dysmorphic disorder. One is to lead by example, as the traditional saying goes: to be referents, good role models as parents, couples or friends. Another is to prioritize on the value of people, beyond the appearance or the physical. And the third, to warn those who suffer from the problem that if they continue to ask us how we see them and complain about their imperfections, we will not continue paying attention to them. If we do not warn you that we will not reinforce you anymore, telling you that it is okay, you could feel much worse.

Finally, both from the surgery sector and from the psychology sector, there is an appeal to the responsibility not to continue reinforcing this type of behavior that even produces characters that are considered within the “famous” typology. The human ken, with more than 51 surgical interventions to his credit is an example. Another, the last one, between reality and the macabre joke, the young Iranian woman who wanted to look like Angelina Jolie and who, supposedly, had placed herself so many times in the hands of aesthetic surgery professionals.

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