Body dysmorphic disorder warrants treatment from a mental health professional. But you can do some things to build on your treatment plan, such as:
- Stick to your treatment plan. Don't skip therapy sessions, even if you don't feel like going. Even if you're feeling well, resist any temptation to skip your medications. If you stop, symptoms may come back. You could also experience withdrawal-like symptoms from stopping a medication too suddenly.
- Learn about your disorder. Education about body dysmorphic disorder can empower you and motivate you to stick to your treatment plan.
- Pay attention to warning signs. Work with your doctor or therapist to learn what might trigger your symptoms. Make a plan so you know what to do if symptoms return. Contact your doctor or therapist if you notice any changes in symptoms or how you feel.
- Practice learned strategies. At home, practice the skills you learn during therapy so they become stronger habits.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. Alcohol and recreational drugs can worsen symptoms or interact with medications.
- Get active. Physical activity and exercise can help manage many symptoms, such as depression, stress and anxiety. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or taking up another form of physical activity you enjoy. However, avoid excessive exercise as a way to fix a perceived flaw.
Talk with your doctor or therapist about improving your coping skills, and ways to focus on identifying, monitoring and changing the negative thoughts and behaviors about your appearance.
Consider these tips to help cope with body dysmorphic disorder:
- Write in a journal. This can help you better identify negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
- Don't become isolated. Try to participate in normal activities and regularly get together with friends and family who can act as healthy supports.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, stay physically active and get sufficient sleep.
- Read reputable self-help books. Consider talking about them to your doctor or therapist.
- Join a support group. Connect with others facing similar challenges.
- Stay focused on your goals. Recovery is an ongoing process. Stay motivated by keeping your recovery goals in mind.
- Learn relaxation and stress management. Try stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga or tai chi.
- Don't make important decisions when you're feeling despair or distress. You may not be thinking clearly and may regret your decisions later.
There's no known way to prevent body dysmorphic disorder. However, because body dysmorphic disorder often starts in the early teenage years, identifying the disorder early and starting treatment may be of some benefit.
Long-term maintenance treatment also may help prevent a relapse of body dysmorphic disorder symptoms.
April 28, 2016
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