Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is known to affect nearly 20% of men and 40% of women. We primarily hear about women who struggle with this disorder, but men suffer from this as well – poor body image is not a gender specific condition. According to the International OCD Foundation, out of those suffering from a body image disorder, over 80% of them have attempted or will attempt suicide. Men and women experience body image concerns in a different manner, but the issues are the same in the way that they feel about themselves and their physical body.
In addiction treatment, body image disorders are one of many complications we see. Body image disorders come paired with addiction and other mental health conditions, and it’s often unclear to the individual which one came first, only that they’re overwhelmed. At Enlightened Solutions, target to remove the surface image we have of the body, and through exercise and therapies, promote our clients in changing their mindset. In addiction treatment, we have to take the time to unpack everything that brings us down and causes us to depend on addictive substances. We offer each client private therapy and group sessions, as well as an early dual diagnosis to communicate treatment expectations. Clients managing body image disorders will learn how to love their bodies once again, and how to find happiness in everything around them so they can live with confidence.
Symptoms of Body Image Disorders:
- Wearing baggy clothes
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of interest in friends and family
- Lack of participation in events where food is present
- Lack of appetite
- Hair loss and tooth decay
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Persistent weakness
- Prolonged Illness
- Stomach irritation or intestinal issues
- Constantly picking at the way they look
Body Image and Eating Disorders
When we feel deficient in the way we look compared to others around us, or what we see in the media, it becomes clear why people are obsessed with their bodies. Society stresses beauty and a perfect body image, and many of the clients that enter into our treatment programs begin with this mindset that they need to resemble what’s popular or adhere to what society describes as beautiful. With body image disorders it’s almost like the disclaimer on a mirror where objects are not as they appear. Over time, individuals having this condition develop a distorted image of themselves and a hyper-focus on the problems that magnify as they further internalize these feelings. If the issue is body weight, eating disorders soon follow, along with depression and stress from the inability to achieve what you feel is the ideal body type. Eating disorders can be dangerous, especially when combined with addictions, as the health problems from lack of nutrition can permanently destroy your bodily functions. Drugs, alcohol, and lack of nutrition have adverse effects on brain function, as well as the immune and cardiovascular systems.
Types of Eating Disorders:
- Bulimia: This condition causes people to eat as much as they can (binge) and then vomit (purge). Those with bulimia are afraid of gaining weight, and typically have low body weight.
- Anorexia: People struggling with anorexia consume very few calories and begin to waste away as a result. They increase their activity to help them lose weight rapidly, and are often far below a healthy weight.
- Binge Eating Disorder: This eating disorder is difficult for friends and family to identify because someone with binge eating disorder may maintain a normal weight.
Depression and Addiction
When we have an unhealthy way of viewing our bodies, be it our weight, size, or shape, it can be difficult to concentrate on anything other than molding ourselves to fit this distorted image of perfection. Depression and isolation stem here, and eventually, people develop eating disorders that deprive them of proper nutrition and perspective. Addictions are formed when we are in our most vulnerable state. Dependency on alcohol and drugs begin to hide the deep rooted issues being: we don’t like what we see or how we feel. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer group therapy sessions that focus on building confidence and strength, as well as nutrition and wellness classes so we can reintroduce a happy and healthy image of food and the body.
In these health and wellness sessions, we compliment each other on the hard work we do as well as encourage one another to take care of ourselves. Addiction can lead us down a rough path that falsifies not only the way we feel, but the world that surrounds us. Operating from the inside out is how we gain control of our thoughts and actions. Body image disorders can be manipulative and cruel, so at Enlightened Solutions we allow a safe place to rebuild and restructure how we think and feel. Addictions and body image disorders begin in unhealthy environments, so it’s important for our clients to remove themselves from those atmospheres and concentrate on creating an internal space where beauty and strength blossom.