Substance/medication Induced Depressive Disorder
Some people turn to drugs or abuse alcohol as a way of self-medicating, but this quick fix often backfires. The highs of alcohol and drugs lead inevitably to lows. If youre using substances daily, you may experience the lows as a hangover, tiredness, or the grayness of being without the substance and not really think of it as depression. But along with whatever pain and craving you feel, your mood is depressedtheres no question.
If youve been drinking or taking drugs regularly for a long time, your body will need time to regain its balance. Twelve-step programs are often effective because they provide much of what many depressed people need most: understanding, regular social interaction, optimism, forgiveness, and even a bit of laughter. If you believe in a higher powerall the better: that too can be a source of strength. But the bare bones of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other programs are always sound advice: Keep the toxins out of your body and mind, and connect with other human beings.
What Are Treatments For Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body dysmorphic disorder treatment often includes a combination of:
- Psychotherapy : Individual counseling focuses on changing a persons thinking and behavior. Through treatment, they correct their thinking about the defect and lessen their compulsive actions.
- Exposure and response prevention: ERP uses thoughts and real-life situations to prove to the person that their view of themselves is not accurate.
- Medication:Antidepressant medication called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may help treat body dysmorphic disorder.
- Group/family therapy: Family support is key to successful treatment. Family members learn to understand body dysmorphic disorder and recognize the signs and symptoms.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
The exact causes of body dysmorphic disorder are uncertain, but a combination genetic and environmental factors likely play a role. Studies show that 8% of people with BDD have a close family member who has been diagnosed with BDD. This suggests that there may be a hereditary component that increases the chances of developing BDD.
Research also indicates that some people with BDD have low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, but the link to BDD has not yet been established. Other studies suggest that visual processing in the brain may differ in people with BDD, which may contribute to how they view images or perceive distortions.
If someone has experienced sexual, emotional or physical abuse during childhood, they may be more prone to develop BDD. Social factors, such as being teased by others about your physical appearance can have long-lasting effects. Many of us have been the target of some type of bullying during childhood, and know how hurtful and harmful this can be to thoughts and feelings about ourselves.
Is there a relationship between BDD and OCD?
The symptoms of BDD and OCD overlap in a number of ways. They both usually appear during adolescence and manifest as repetitive behaviors, such as skin-picking and constantly looking in the mirror. The main distinction is that BDD is focused exclusively on compulsive behaviors related to appearance, while individuals with OCD can have various types of obsessive thoughts and behaviors.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
If you suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, you likely spend a lot of time obsessing over the body part you perceive to be flawed and what others think about it. Worrying about your imperfections can make you feel depressed, anxious, ashamed, or profoundly ugly. It can even trigger thoughts about suicide.
Other signs and symptoms of BDD include:
Repeatedly checking your reflection in the mirror or staying away from mirrors altogether. Do you check your reflection compulsively, even when youre alone? On the other end of the spectrum, do you avoid mirrors because seeing your reflection causes you distress?
Isolating yourself so others will not see the offending body part. This includes avoiding work, school, social events or public places out of stress over others seeing you. Or leaving the house only at night or at times where youre less likely to see other people.
Spending a lot of energy camouflaging or covering up the perceived flaw. You may wear strategic clothing, makeup, or accessories to disguise the area youre worried about. You may also position your body in a way to minimize the flaw. Do you try to cover it with hats, scarves, baggy pants, or wear clothing inappropriate for the weather?
Going to lengths to avoid having your picture taken. Do you avoid social gatherings where photos will be taken? Do you police the photos others take and post to social media, making sure your flaw isnt visible?
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How Is Depression And Anxiety Treated
If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t just struggle on without help. You’d get in seen to. Mental health is as important as physical health and can be treated successfully. There are several treatments available often a combination of treatments is needed.
If your symptoms are mild, your GP may take a ‘wait and see’ approach. They may give you some advice on how to cope with symptoms then see if symptoms improve within a few weeks.
Theres something called ‘talking therapies’ now, which can really help people who are feeling low, anxious or out of sorts.
Talking treatments allow you to talk to a trained professional who can help you manage your thoughts and feelings and the effect they have on your mood and behaviour.
Examples of talking treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling. They may be one-on-one sessions or in a group environment.
If you are considering talking treatments, be sure to mention any cultural, language or religious needs you have or any hearing or sight problems, so they can be addressed when arranging therapy for you. Talking treatments are effective and available for free on the NHS.
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Feeling Guilty All The Time
Guilt is a perfectly normal feeling. If you do something you regret, guilt will follow. The thing with depression though, is that it can cause feelings of guilt over nothing or over everything.
Feeling guilty is actually a symptom of depression and its the reason why when I experience depression, I feel like Im taking on the ills of the world. For example, people with depression may feel guilty about not being able to help people who are victims of a natural disaster and this, in turn, makes them feel that theyre worthless.
Of course, feeling guilty about things closer to home, such as feeling incredibly guilty over a disagreement, is even more common.
Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder The Same As An Eating Disorder
People with body dysmorphic disorder may have other disorders. Some have eating disorders, anxiety disorders, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder .
Body dysmorphic disorder has some similarities to eating disorders. People with body dysmorphic disorder and those with an eating disorder worry about their body image. The difference is that a person with an eating disorder focuses on their weight and body shape. A person with body dysmorphic disorder is anxious about a specific body part.
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Medication Can Take A While To Figure Out
In hospital, side effects from trying many different medication combinations was sometimes more uncomfortable than the depression itself.
But getting the mix right has made a big difference to my sleep and my ability to start the day.
It took me a while to manage my medication. Here’s what I do now:
- I always carry my medication with me so it doesn’t matter if I forget to take it before leaving home
- I note in my diary when I need to go to the chemist, and when the prescription will run out
- At every GP or psychiatrist appointment, I check to see if I need a new prescription. This way I can avoid making frantic appointments just for medication
- At every GP appointment, I also ask about my Mental Health Care Plan to see if any new paperwork is required.
Thoughts Of Death Or Suicide
A person with depression may think more about death and dying. They may also think about suicide and how they could end their life. These thoughts are called suicide ideation.
Sometimes, a person may tell others about these thoughts. If someone is talking about death or suicide, this may be their way of asking for help, and it is vital to seek assistance.
In severe cases of depression, a person may hurt themselves, or self-harm.
Depression is a common but serious condition that can be life threatening. Not every person who thinks about suicide will attempt it. However, if someone mentions suicide, either contact a doctor or help them seek urgent medical care.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- How can I talk to my child about their weight?
- How can I recognize an eating disorder?
- What can I do to help my child feel more confident?
- How can I help my child develop healthy eating habits?
- How can I lose weight without it negatively impacting my childs sense of body image?
- How do I explain to my child my decision to have cosmetic surgery?
Depressed Or Anxious Paying Attention Could Be The Key To Recovery
In despair, the conflict is externalized. You feel rotten and you are aware that others despise you. At the extreme, you hear voices telling you that you are worthless, but short of that, you are constantly fighting the unfair expectations of others. You attack their yardsticks and demand special consideration.
You are miserable and you know its someones fault, but you have no idea that its you who oppresses you. Therapists are enraging because they talk about conflict resolution when you think whats needed is a revolution. When therapists tell you to modulate the anger that is wrecking your life, you hear an aristocrat telling the poor to be patient.
My overarching point here is to emphasize how the psychology of the problemin this case, depressionis also typically the psychology of reacting to solutions. Self-blamers insist on total acceptance and experience any effort to change them as a kind of blame. People who find relief in being told that depression is not their fault, that its a disease or a function of chemistry, experience any effort to help them change as an unrealistic expectation.
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How Does Body Dysmorphic Disorder Affect People
People with body dysmorphic disorder may:
- See themselves as ugly.
- Think about their perceived flaws for hours each day.
- Miss work or school because they dont want others to see them.
- Avoid spending time with family and friends.
- Have plastic surgery to try to improve their appearance.
- Experience severe emotional distress and harmful behaviors.
Look At What You Can Control
Some people say that putting their lives in order helps. Being involved in your health care, keeping your appointments, and making changes in your lifestyle are among the things you can control. Even setting a daily schedule can give you a sense of control. And while no one can control every thought, some say that they try not to dwell on the fearful ones, but instead do what they can to enjoy the positive parts of life.
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Treatment Options For Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Treatment for body dysmorphic disorder includes both individual and group therapy as well as medication.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the only psychological treatment for BDD supported by research. It focuses on changing the thought and behavior patterns triggered by the condition. Your therapist will help you identify situations that cause anxiety and develop healthier coping mechanisms. Through CBT, you can learn to step outside of yourself and view your body through a more objective and forgiving lens.
Medication for body dysmorphic disorder. While there arent any medications to specifically treat BDD, research has shown that serotonin reuptake inhibitors , a type of antidepressant, may help ease the obsessive thoughts and behaviors that are hallmarks of BDD. They may also reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression that often co-occur with BDD. With your mind more at ease, you may find it easier to engage with CBT.
Who Gets Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body dysmorphic disorder affects people of any gender. It tends to begin during the teen years or early adulthood. Thats the age when children start comparing themselves to others. Body dysmorphic disorder is a chronic condition.
Without treatment, body dysmorphic disorder can get worse as people get older. They become even more unhappy with physical changes that come with aging, such as wrinkles and gray hair.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Major Depression
To an extent, your clinician or therapist can determine some of your symptoms, but diagnosis is typically based on your self-report of the symptoms youre experiencing. To be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, you must exhibit at least five of the following symptoms, most of the day, nearly every day, for longer than two weeks, and severely enough that your personal or professional life is suffering:
- Feelings of intense sadness, hopelessness, despair, emptiness
- Loss of pleasure in most daily activities
- Significant weight gain or loss
- Changes in appetite
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or self-hatred
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate
- Suicidal thoughts
Major depressive disorder, untreated, usually lasts from six to eight monthsthough it can be shorter or longer and may reoccur. Abraham Lincoln, Sir Winston Churchill, Charles Darwin and Marilyn Monroe are believed to have all suffered from major depressive disorder. Notable celebrities today like Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Lovato, and Jim Carrey have also personally experienced the illness.
What Causes Body Dysmorphic Disorder
There is no one, single cause of body dysmorphic disorder. It likely develops due to a number of genetic and environmental factors, such as a family history of obsessive compulsive disorder or neglect during your childhood. Unhelpful behaviours, such as negative self-talk and believing that your life would be easier if you could fix the body part you dont like, only perpetuate the feelings of body dysmorphic disorder and make them worse.
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Tip : Reduce Negative Predictions
Once you become more skilled at managing your thoughts, you can use these coping strategies to talk yourself down before you face a triggering situation. This could be anywhere that you feel self-conscious about your appearance, such as a birthday party or a work conference with a room full of strangers.
If you have BDD, you may find yourself defaulting to negative predictions about how a particular event will go. You may start to imagine the worst: that everyone will make fun of you, for example, or that youll find yourself sitting alone because nobody wants to associate with you because of your perceived flaw. In truth, though, reality is much less distressing.
The next time you catch yourself spiraling into anxiety, try writing your worst fears down in your journal or a thought diary. Once you acknowledge them, try coming up with a more realistic outcome. Instead of thinking, Nobody will talk to me. Try, Maybe I will meet someone new and well have an interesting conversation. Its important, though, not to go to the other extreme and set yourself up for disappointment. For example, rather than imagining, Everyone will tell me Im beautiful, or I will meet the love of my life, consider smaller, yet still positive expectations.
Know When It’s The Depressed Mind And When It’s You
On the 17th day in hospital I wrote in my notebook: “I think the sad thing is you lose a sense of dignity for yourself.”
The depressed mind a) can’t do the things it knows are good for itself, b) will beat itself up over this failure, c) appreciates the irony of these two things on a good day.
Sometimes now I pause and ask myself, “Is this the depression?” because it helps to know who’s talking and who’s in charge.
Talking to a psychologist, reading about helpful strategies, exploring digital mental health treatment such as Mindspot this all helps too.
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Find The Small Things That Save You
“These small things saved me when nothing else could,” wrote Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel.
He was referring to how he learned to live with thrift and self-forgiveness.
In hospital I thought of this line often. I knew about the big things taking medication, seeing the doctors. So, what were my small things?
I now know them to be a cup of something warm, something beautiful to read, and sitting on the floor .
Overeating And Weight Gain
Some people may eat more when they are depressed. Food can become a comfort mechanism for negative feelings or a way to deal with boredom or being alone.
Depression can make it difficult for people to feel motivated to get outside or exercise. Combined with an increase in food intake, this can lead to weight gain.
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You Cannot Will Yourself Well
“It is not for a lack of will that you are not better,” said the psych registrar.
“You need to think of this as a medical illness that needs treatment, because it is. There’s no other way to explain that 11-15 per cent of Australians experience it every year,” he said.
Instead of white-knuckled will, it was more helpful to approach recovery with self-compassion.
“Compassion is when love meets suffering and stays loving. That’s compassion,” says author and clinical psychologist Christopher Germer.