Most of us have something we don’t like about our appearance. A crooked nose, an uneven smile, or legs we think are too chunky. And though we may fret about our imperfections, they don’t really impede with our daily lives. But people who have body image disorder think about their flaws—whether they’re real or perceived-—for hours each day. They can’t control their negative thoughts, often leading to severe emotional distress and interference with daily functioning. They may miss work or school, avoid social situations, and isolate themselves from friends and family because they fear others will notice their physical shortcomings.
Body image disorder affects one out of every 50 people. It occurs all over the world and it’s equally prevalent among men and women. Those who suffer from body image disorder may perform some type of compulsive or repetitive behavior, or try to hide their perceived flaws. These behaviors only provide temporary relief, if any. Examples may include:
- Camouflaging (with body position, clothing, makeup, hair, hats, etc.)
- Comparing themselves to others
- Seeking surgery
- Changing clothes excessively
- Frequently checking the mirror
- Avoiding the mirror
- Skin picking
- Excessive grooming
- Excessive exercise
Body image disorder often goes hand in hand with other conditions. Social anxiety disorder, as well as other disorders such as depression, eating disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, often accompany body image disorder. Fortunately, a number of effective treatments are available to help those with body image disorder to live full, productive lives. Many people have found success through anti-depressant medications and/or cognitive behavioral therapy. In addition, neurofeedback can be tremendously beneficial to those with anxiety related to body image disorder by helping them learn to calm their brains.
Changing your brainwaves can change your life. Neurofeedback is a powerful tool for reducing anxiety. Rather than training the brain to manage stress, neurofeedback helps train the part of the brain that controls stress not overreact to it. People who experience anxiety can learn to decrease it and to remain calmer through neurofeedback. This type pf brain training actually helps to change brainwaves. It measures the rhythms of the brain and provides rewards as users make more of the positive patterns or fewer of the undesirable ones. Neurofeedback facilitates awareness, provides reinforcement, and allows one to monitor the quality of practice during training sessions. As learning takes place, the amount of anxiety decreases and so does the brain training schedule. Neurofeedback can people with anxiety to recoup the control of their lives they once feared was lost.
By Andrew Walen, LCSW-C, LICSW, CEDS, Executive Director at The Better Brain Center. If you would like to get in touch with Andrew please call 833-964-8483 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.