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How to help someone with body dysmorphia

by Amanda Collins

It can be frustrating and heartbreaking to see someone you care about in the grips of body dysmorphia, but you can help them break free by encouraging them to seek help.

The first place they need to visit is their local doctor. They need to tell their doctor the truth about what’s been going on and how they are thinking and feeling.

From here, their doctor will refer them to a psychologist and may prescribe medication to help them manage their symptoms.

Offer to make the doctor’s appointment and take them there. You could also offer to help them get to and from psychologists appointments.

Also, talk to them about how they are feeling, and really listen to them when they express their struggles.

How to help someone with body dysmorphia

Tips for dealing with a sufferer of body dysmorphia:

  • You may get irritated or angry with some of their behaviour. When this happens, keep in mind that the behaviour is a symptom of a condition, it is not who they are. You wouldn’t blame someone with the flu for getting a fever, it’s the same with body dysmorphia, don’t blame them for their symptoms.
  • Don’t encourage or help them to get cosmetic procedures.
  • Try to gently discourage any body dysmorphic symptoms and rituals.
  • Don’t get angry or snap at them for their behaviour. Try to work with them. Instead of snapping, think of the condition as the enemy, not the sufferer. Work as a team to overcome the condition with empathy, patience and understanding.
  • You can help find the sufferer a psychologist who specialises in body dysmorphia by visiting the Australian Psychological Association’s ‘Find a Psychologist’ site, or by phoning them on 1800 333 497.

There is hope!

Your friend or family member does not have to live with body dysmorphia. Help is out there. Reach out and help them get assistance. The sooner they get help, the sooner they will start on the road to recovery!

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