The word dysmorphophobia consists of three compound Greek syllables - "dys", "morphe" and "phobios". It denotes the timidity, the fear or the fear of one's own external appearance, of one's own outer form. Today, the so-called body dysmorphic disorder classified as an independent, psychiatric disease and recognized. Thus, if a patient is diagnosed with dysmorphophobia, he / she is entitled to adequate therapy.
Due to the false perception of one's own self-image, the mental illness often has a very negative impact on the lives of those affected and often leads to depression. Suicide cases due to dysmorphophobia are also proven.
Due to the possibilities of cosmetic plastic surgery, which has made tremendous progress especially in recent years, this psychiatric disorder is back in focus. If one's own self-perception is permanently disturbed, however, it is questionable whether the patient with such an intervention can really be helped permanently.
Dysmorphophobia is based on an unprocessed, inner-spiritual conflict. Performance and quality of life are sinking more and more, as the thoughts of those affected only revolve around the supposed disfigurement of the face or other body parts.
Even if the affected person is credibly assured by relatives or physicians that a caricature of their own perception and reality is present, this is negated by the patients. In addition, it is often the case that sufferers anxiously avoid the advice of professionals, such as specialized psychiatrists.
Body dysmorphic disorders are often associated with a lack of self-esteem and hypochondria. Since many sufferers avoid the doctor's contact in connection with their misguided body perception, a high number of unreported cases must be assumed. Each person has certain physical characteristics that characterize him and make him unique. Most people are coping well with this, but the concerns of patients with dysmorphophobia are always characterized by marked exaggeration.
For the gender distribution of the disfigurement syndrome, there are no reliable data in the medical literature, as exact investigations are missing so far. Specialists assume equal distribution in men and women, others describe a slight preponderance of the female sex.
However, it is certain that dysmorphic behaviors can already begin in childhood and adolescence. Once the excessive involvement with one's own physical appearance is set in motion, the symptoms and symptoms worsen with increasing age.
However, the longer the symptoms persist, the more difficult it is to initiate adequate psychiatric therapy. The sufferers experience themselves as supposedly ridiculous, repulsive or ugly, although they look objectively normal. The idea of one's own ugliness often refers to the whole body, more rarely to individual areas.
In particular, the shape, symmetry, size or position of certain body zones or extremities are called into question. Typical examples are fat cushion distribution, dissatisfaction with the tooth position, erosion tendency or the wrong assumption that lips, chin, cheeks, mouth or nose are ugly.
Those affected suffer from a self-created vicious circle of self-denial and agonizing concern. It is typical that their own appearance is constantly questioned or controlled in mirrors. In-depth psychiatric diagnosis often reveals narcissistic personality traits and profound inferiority. Due to general withdrawal tendencies and shyness, the psychosocial consequences for those affected are often considerable.
In many cases it is the family doctor who, with his good knowledge of patients, makes a suspected diagnosis, which then has to be corroborated by a psychiatrist or psychological psychotherapist. The initiation of adequate therapy should also be done so early so that a chronification tendency can be effectively counteracted. Because the course of the disease is considered lengthy, not infrequently victims remain a lifetime prisoner of their pathological disfigurement fears.
As a rule, sufferers suffer from the dysmorphophobia in a number of different mental complaints. For this reason, a doctor should be consulted on this disease if it comes to significant inferiority complexes or reduced self-esteem. Urgent treatment is especially necessary if these symptoms occur for no particular reason. Even with the occurrence of teasing or bullying a medical treatment is useful to avoid further complications and complaints.
Furthermore, the dysmorphophobia can also lead to suicidal thoughts. In many cases, the parents and relatives of the patient must also be aware of the symptoms and contact a doctor. In severe cases, staying in a closed clinic makes sense. By the complaints can be significantly alleviated. Mostly the diagnosis of dysmorphophobia is made by a psychologist. Also, the treatment can be performed at the psychologist. The sooner the disease is diagnosed and treated, the higher the chances of a complete cure for the patient.
A schematic psychiatric treatment for incorrect body perception is still unknown, which is why each therapy of a dysmorphic disorder must be based on the individual situation and suffering problem of a patient. The therapist must first be able to open himself to a patient, gain confidence and be helped at all. A causal, therefore cause-related therapy, is not possible because the psychological background of dysmorphophobia is still unknown.
Only when depression occurs at the same time is the administration of psychotropic drugs justified. The therapy is otherwise limited to accompanying psychotherapeutic sessions of behavioral therapy. When patients report changing, vague or diffuse symptoms, cosmetic surgery is strongly discouraged. Because the psychological impairments hidden behind the complaints can not be eliminated by a desired medical beauty surgery.
In the case of dysmorphophobia, there is a prospect of recovery as soon as the disease is treated professionally and the diagnosis and therapy take place early.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy improves the health of most patients. The therapy can be done inpatient as well as outpatient. When used in conjunction with drug treatment, significant relief of symptoms is observed in the patients.
The administration of medicines without psychotherapy has proven less effective. In most cases, there will be a regression of symptoms as soon as the prescribed preparations are discontinued. The best prospects for recovery are the combination of therapy and the administration of medication. The therapy involves several months or years. Complaints recede gradually until a freedom of complaint can be achieved.
Left untreated, dysmorphophobia may become chronic. The prognosis worsens significantly. A spontaneous cure is considered very unlikely. The symptoms of the disease vary in intensity during the course of the disease. At the same time, however, the symptoms become worse the longer the disease is present. As symptoms increase, the patient's risk of suicide gradually increases. In order for no critical or life-threatening situation to occur, a timely therapy is crucial.
Dysmorphophobia is a highly complex, sometimes bizarre, picture of suffering with persevering negative body perception. Since it must be assumed in many cases that the cause of the complaints is already laid down in childhood, a prevention should begin here.
In the case of children and adolescents with tendencies to retreat or constant mental involvement with their own deficiencies, sociotherapeutic corrections should be made at an early stage or conversational psychological offers should be submitted.
Since dysmorphophobia is a serious and, above all, serious mental disorder of the person affected, it usually depends first on intensive psychological treatment by a doctor. It usually can not come to a self-healing, so a treatment should always be performed. Measures or options for follow-up care are usually not available to the person concerned in cases of dysmorphophobia.
In any case, the triggers for this disease should be recognized and avoided. The sooner the disease is recognized and treated, the better is usually the further course. Dysmorphophobia is treated with medication and psychological counseling. Care should be taken to ensure that the dosage is correct and that the medication is taken regularly to prevent further complications.
The relatives and the family of the affected person must understand the disease in any case and deal with this. Frequently, intensive discussions with the person concerned are necessary. In serious cases, relatives should persuade the patient to undergo treatment in a closed institution to prevent further discomfort. Dysmorphophobia does not reduce the life expectancy of the person affected.
In a dysmorphophobia, the possibilities of self-help in everyday life for the patient are only very limited possible. Normally, the person concerned is not able to carry out the health promotion measures on his own initiative. The disorder is based on mental causes and the impossibility of real assessment of oneself. Therefore, there are only a few action variations for the person concerned.
Your own body is not intentionally misjudged. The disorder is therefore not intentionally controllable. It is part of the appearance of the disease that it is not possible for the affected person to see his own body in real and to recognize the contours. For this reason, people from the close social environment are often more responsible. The patient should be addressed by them to the necessary help. This requires a stable relationship of trust. In severe cases, the relatives also need advice and help from expert staff.
Information about the disease and its appearance are needed to learn and implement the right approach in dealing with the patient. Patience, rest and comprehensive information about the disease are essential. The person concerned may not be harassed or put under pressure by everyday comments. Shame, guilt or words of instruction should be avoided whenever possible.