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You never had a problem with your body before. Nothing in your world told you that you had to consider your body, or any part of your body, any particular way. Then one day, you are bullied for some part of your body. Bullies relentlessly tease and taunt you about a part of your body, informing you that the way your body is, isn’t acceptable. Perhaps you are the victim of some kind of sexual abuse. The invasion and violation of your body changes the way you see yourself, changes the way you see your body, and changes the way you mentally feel inside your physical body. If you are experiencing sexual abuse, you are not alone. Please call the National Sexual Abuse Hotline for help and support: 1-800-656-4673.

Bullying, sexual abuse, and other life impact situations which change our perspective of ourselves, our world, and our place in that world, are trauma. Each one of us reacts to trauma in a specific way. For people who experience trauma involving their body, a common way their trauma manifests is through body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Also called body dysmorphia, this mental disorder skews the way we perceive our bodies, in particular our perceived flaws. When we are bullied about a part of our body or our appearance, we might become obsessed with trying to fix, alter, or hide that part of ourselves. Our self-worth and self-image becomes completely dependent upon that part of ourselves, to a debilitating degree. BDD can get in the way of our ability to live a quality life. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and harmful behaviors can be the result of BDD which make resolving our original trauma more complex.

Though body dysmorphic disorder can involve eating disorders or other body image disorders it is not an eating disorder. People may not have any kind of disordered eating behaviors in addition to their disordered thinking in regards to their body. Interestingly, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders actually categorizes body dysmorphia as an obsessive compulsive disorder. Obsessive thoughts about perceived bodily flaws lead an individual to take compulsive actions. In BDD, compulsive behaviors can range from self-harm, body checking, looking in a mirror, or even becoming ‘addicted’ to cosmetic procedures.

It is true that body dysmorphia includes an unhealthy obsession of the self. However, body dysmorphic disorder is not anything close to narcissism or another maladaptive concentration on the self. People who are struggling with BDD are not self-centered, vain, or self-obsessed even though their actions may speak differently. Underneath the layers of misdirection, someone living with BDD is living with deep pain, potential unresolved trauma, and a broken sense of self.

Thankfully, recovery is possible for those living with BDD and unresolved trauma. At The Guest House Ocala, we welcome everyone who has experienced trauma and, as a result, is suffering from addictions, mental health disorders, or other manifestations. Our programs are custom tailored to the specific experiences and needs of each client. Everyone has a story. Change yours today. Call us at Call 1-855-483-7800.