Transgender Body Dysmorphia – What is it and how to treat it.
The consciousness and awareness about transgenderism have increased remarkably in recent times.
This is because the world is increasingly coming to terms with its reality. This was not so in the past, as there was strong discrimination against transgenderism and all that it involves.
But just when we thought that the dust has settled and the world was ready to come to terms with transgenderism, we are seeing transgender individuals increasingly becoming victims of Body Dysmorphia and this condition is affecting how transgender individuals see themselves.
What is Transgender Body Dysmorphia?
Transgender body Dysmorphia is described as a mental condition that creates an illusion of flawed body shapes or types in the mind of a transgender individual.
In this case, the transgender believes his body shape is greatly flawed and as a result can’t stop thinking about it.
Transgender individuals with this condition often have their attention on their physical appearance such as body image, they may be found checking the mirror often and always looking to get assurance and validation from people around them.
This may cause some form of mental stress on the individual and can impact a person’s quality of life.
Usually, many people with this condition would use cosmetics and body polishing to boost their body image which sometimes gives a form of temporary satisfaction but this goes away quickly after the effect of the polishing and the individual gets back to the state.
Gender Dysphoria and Body Dysmorphia
People often confuse these two, Gender Dysphoria and Transgender Body Dysmorphia. However, they are not the same as they are different.
The conditions are psychological and can be linked to each other. However, these two conditions are very common but are different in definition.
It is usually defined as a psychological or mental condition where a person experiences a conflicting reality between an individual’s identified gender and the physical gender.,
In simple terms, there is a mix-up between sexual orientation and one’s gender identity. This ultimately leads to distress feelings and a sense of discomfort for the individual.
Gender Dysphoria isn’t a mental health condition unlike Transgender Body Dysmorphia but victims of GD may suffer some form of Depression anxiety, or eating disorder.
Some of the effects of mental health symptoms that may be associated with these causes are usually from indirect causes such as Transgender discrimination and how they are treated by the society
What is the difference between Gender Dysphoria and Body Dysmorphia?
People with Gender Dysphoria do not feel that their body is flawed but rather they feel that they have the wrong body.
In other words, they do not have issues with their body image. Also, gender dysphoria is not a mental health condition while body Dysmorphia is a mental health condition
How to Treat Body Dysmorphia
The treatment of body Dysmorphia is more of a long-term treatment that would require periodic visits to a Gender Therapist. There are also some forms of pharmacological intervention. Here are some treatment options available to explore:
Treatment from Gender Therapist from Pride Counseling
Usually, a gender therapist is best described as a Professional who has deep insightful knowledge about mental health and how it affects gender orientation.
Gender Therapists usually undergo rigorous training in Gender Studies. In addition to their course work, a gender therapist would also have a robust experience in Gender diversity in humans.
Because of their knowledge of mental health and how it affects sexuality and sexual orientation, they are well-positioned to manage and treat Gender Dysphoria, Body Dysmorphia, and the like.
The major benefit of working with gender therapists is that Through their knowledge and skill, they can help you clear any form of confusion that may relate to Dysphoria or Dysmorphia.
One of the modalities often used is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This therapeutic modality focuses exclusively on body Dysmorphia. It helps you learn how negative thinking and undue emotional responses and behavior can affect your perception of body image and how you can overcome them.
Cognitive behavioral therapy would help you to learn how you can handle your body image by improving how you think about your body and how you respond to negative thoughts.
Also, there are components of special mental health treatment in this type of therapy modality
Treatment through medications
Sometimes, Body Dysmorphia may be treated with medications however, as of today there are no FDA-approved medicines by the FDA in the United States.
However, medication is usually used to treat mental challenges like anxiety and Depression and may be used in the management of Body Dysmorphia.
This is because anxiety and Depression are typical symptoms of body Dysmorphia. So it is just about improving the symptoms to overcome the condition.
Some common drugs used are SSRIs(Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors) This class of drug is known to be a very effective treatment of body Dysmorphia, it does better than many other types of antidepressants out there
Home and Lifestyle program
Body Dysmorphia is a known mental health condition that needs Treatment from a qualified Professional. A gender therapist may recommend some home programs or lifestyle modifications that may hasten the treatment of the condition.
Some of these include:
- Constant visitation to a gender therapist as a way of life
Treatment for Dysmorphia is usually a long-term treatment that requires constant visits to a Gender Therapist. This might be burdensome Especially when you combine it with today’s complex world of work and family. To make this work you have to make Lifestyle modification that sees the frequent therapeutic visit as part of the living
- Following treatment protocols
Every form of home recommended by the gender therapist must be followed religiously. They shouldn’t be skipped especially at home
- Identifying warning signs and responding to them appropriately
A gender therapist is most likely going to help you identify the warning signs to look out for and also how to respond to them. It is the duty of the individual involved to carry on with this when you are alone. This is because some of these signs often express themselves when people are alone.
- Practicing every treatment at home
This is one of the ways to hasten treatment. Practicing this at home would the individual to heal faster
- Participating in Physical activists
Physical activity and social participation can help to boost one’s perception of body image. A gender therapist among other things is going to recommend more physical activity and social participation so that it can hasten the treatment.