Body Image In Your Bathroom Mirror
By Anna Livingston
Have you ever had a female friend complain that she is really fat when she doesn't appear to have an ounce of fat on her body? Maybe you have had a friend complain about how big their nose is and how much better their life would be with a different nose. Body image is defined as how you view your own body. It is the way you perceive your body and physical appearance to be. Self-esteem is closely linked to body image. It is your opinion of yourself and how you view your own self-worth as well as how much you believe you are valued by others. Having high self-esteem is a very good thing and is not to be confused with being a conceited person. High self-esteem is a realistic knowledge of yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. It is learning to love yourself the way you are. There are some serious problems that can result from poor body image and self-esteem.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is considered a mental illness. People with this disorder obsess about a part of their appearance which they see as a flaw (such as a large nose or a small scar on their face). Their obsessive thoughts about this imperfection magnify the imperfection in their mind. They believe the flaw is much worse than what it actually is. Often these “flaws” are not really even noticeable to other people. People with BDD often spend many hours a day simply obsessing and worrying about their body image and their appearance. Some will actually try many different cosmetic surgeries in order to fix their believed “flaws” yet they are still never happy with themselves. Due to their distorted body image they can even believe that they are too hideous to let anyone see them. This is why the illness is also referred to as “imagined ugliness” or “dysmorphophobia” (which means that you are afraid of having a deformity).
- What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?: The Kids Health website explains what body dysmorphic disorder is, its causes, how it can affect a person's life and how to get help for it.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder: The Mayo Clinic website defines Body Dsymorphic Disorder, its symptoms, causes, risk factors, complications, preparing for your appointment, tests and diagnosis, treatments and drugs, lifestyle and home remedies, coping and support and prevention.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder-Common Areas of Concern: The Web MD website discusses common areas of concern for BDD as well as symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment.
- Recognizing and Treating Imagined Ugliness: The National Institutes of Health website explains clinical features of BDD; impairment in functioning, distress and quality of life; cultural aspects of it; prevalence; diagnosis; and treatment.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder in Children: The Healthy Place website explains how children with the disorder see themselves and provides you with a quiz to see if you suffer from it.
What exactly is anorexia? It is an eating disorder where a person is extremely fearful of gaining weight and has a very unrealistic view of the shape and size of his or her body. People who are anorexic typically eat hardly anything and become excessively thin. They literally starve themselves. They also sometimes choose to fast instead of “diet” or exercise excessively in order to keep from gaining weight. This disorder affects both the person's body and mind. They become truly obsessed with their weight, dieting and food. Anorexia causes very poor health and can lead to life-threatening conditions.
- Anorexia Nervosa: Kids.Net.Au explains what anorexia is, who suffers from it, causes, signs, treatment, how to behave toward someone with it, and offers external links.
- Eating Disorders Strike Younger and Younger: The ABC News website talks about kids being weight obsessed, how to read the signs and the first line of defense for pediatricians.
- Young & Anorexic: The Kaboose website discusses anorexia and what parents should do.
- Anorexic Teens: The Troubled Teen 101 website reviews teen statistics for anorexia, signs, causes, factors, symptoms, effects and treatment.
- Eating Disorders: Thin At All Costs?: The PBS Kids Go! Website discusses eating disorders such as anorexia, symptoms and how to get help.
Bulimia is also a type of eating disorder. A person suffering from bulimia eats a lot of food very quickly (which is called binging). They often binge alone and want to keep it a secret. They then want to get rid of all the food they just ate so they purge in some way. They may choose to purge by making themselves vomit or they make take laxatives so they have a bowel movement. They also might choose to exercise excessively in order to keep from gaining weight. People who are bulimic may find comfort from food but then feel guilty, ashamed and fearful for eating so much and binging. This leads them to purge which can cause serious, long-lasting health problems. The frequent vomiting causes gum disease, tooth decay and a loss of actual tooth enamel. All purging types can lead to heart problems, kidney damage and possibly death.
- Bulimia: The Wexner Medical Center website explains what bulimia is, causes, who is affected by it, different types, symptoms, how it is diagnosed, treatment and prevention.
- Bulimia Nervosa: The University of Maryland Medical Center website provides you with information on the signs and symptoms of bulimia, causes, who is most at risk, the Dr. visit, treatment, nutrition and supplements, herbs, homeopathy, acupuncture, massage, possible complications and follow-up.
- Bulimia-Causes and Risk Factors: The Cedars-Sinai website discusses the causes and risk factors of bulimia, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
- Bulimia Nervosa Fact Sheet: The Women's Health website explains what bulimia is, who becomes bulimic, causes, signs and much more.
- Eating Disorders: The Center for Young Women's Health website provides you with a lot of information on eating disorders such as what happens when you don't eat.
- BodyImageHealth.org: The BodyImageHealth.org website offers tools for preventing body image, eating, fitness and weight problems before they start.
- Children's Body-Image Foundation: The Children's Body-Image Foundation strives to help kids build self-esteem, self-confidence and self-awareness by raising body image awareness and also helping to educate the public.
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing and alleviating eating disorders.
- Love Your Body Now Foundation: The National Organization for Women is promoting a Love Your Body campaign and tells where unrealistic standards are coming from.
- National Eating Disorders: The National Eating Disorders Association is a non-profit organization which campaigns for prevention, improved access to quality treatment and increased research funding for eating disorders.
Advice & Encouragement