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Uncomfortable in Your Own Skin: Teens and Body Dysmorphia

Feeling satisfied with the way you look is not always easy. Many teens who have positive images become self-conscious or self-critical as they enter the adolescent years. It’s common for them to not always be happy about their appearance or to always compare themselves with their friends and media figures. I find it interesting that in my generation, we use to call this “a big ego” or “being stuck on yourself”. My parents would have told me to “forget myself”. However, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is very different. It is driven by intense anxiety about appearance, and delusions of ugliness is exceptionally expounded. The focus can be on any part, but usually it is the hair, nose, ears, skin, and the size and shape of the jaw; don’t ask me why. It should be appreciated that this generation has a name for every issue or disorder under the sun.

C.A.R.E. treatment for body dysmorphia has helped many troubled teens get to the root causes of this issue and find recovery. Call C.A.R.E. at 866-492-9215 for more information.

Being Uncomfortable about Your Looks is Pretty Common

BDD is pretty common, as it affects more kids than anorexia or schizophrenia does. It usually affects boys just as much as girls, but, the causes of it are unknown. Studies suggest that there is a strong genetic component with factors like appearance related teasing and bullying. I tend to think that it’s a mixture of psychological tricks which manifests in a way that would depend on how a child’s natural personality meshed with learned behavior and emotional support as an infant. Does that make sense? At any rate, it has a lot to do with self-esteem.

The Ugly Truth

The truth is that experts agree, it is a serious issue. Kids who struggle with BDD are compelled to do something drastic about the disaster they see in the mirror. They go about ripping down pictures of themselves or refusing to take any at all. They may take hours getting ready for school or end up not going at all; grades suffer. Every chance they get is spent fixing themselves in the mirror. They may feel depressed, overwhelmed and tired.

In extreme cases, boys and girls will self medicate with drugs and alcohol to numb the voices within. The strange thing is that these kids look perfectly normal. It’s all in their heads. The good thing is that treatment can be successful.

If you would like to know more about therapeutic boarding school and other residential programs for troubled teens, please contact a family counselor at Zion Educational Systems for guidance.  To get started click the button below!

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