In a world where we have grown up with images surrounding us that have plagued our minds and seeped into our brains without us knowingly or conscientiously thinking about it, it is difficult to not be affected by what we see and what others want us to see. These images and information that are almost inevitably apart of our everyday lives can have a negative impact on us without us knowing or realizing it.
Most people associate body image disorders with the most commonly known ones, such as anorexia, or bulimia. However, there are other disorders that might creep up on us and you aren’t even aware that you have it. Striving to always be bigger, for example, can be a sign of one of them, or never being satisfied with the food you are eating can be another.
Here are some body disorders that you don’t even know exist, that might explain some of your behaviors or thoughts: (However, we suggest it is always important to seek a professional before any type of self-diagnosis).
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder or Body Dysmorphia
This mental disorder is when you are always thinking of one particular “flaw” that you think you have in your appearance. It is possible that it is minor or hardly even noticeable, but to you, it needs to be covered at all times, or fixed by surgical procedures.
An eating disorder where it is mainly driven by the desire to be as skinny as possible. You are never happy with how thin you are, and you restrict your food intake. This can also be seen through the way you see yourself in a mirror, for instance, those with anorexia see themselves as overweight, though they are underweight.
- Bulimia Nervosa
Another eating disorder that has actually the opposite results of anorexia, where instead of restricting eating, the person suffering from this disorder actually binge eats and then purges by means of laxatives, or vomiting to get the food they just consumed out of their system. This can also be seen if you are binge eating and then starving yourself afterward for compensating for how much you have eaten before.
Having this disorder has you focusing exactly on the details of your diet. This means that the only type of food you want to intake is labeled as pure, all-natural, etc. Though this could be seen as a good thing, having this disorder means that it is carried out to the extreme, where it disrupts your daily life. If you have this disorder, not only do you focus on what you are eating, you also need to see how it is prepared, and how much you eat, as well. This nutrition-obsessed disordered can lead to malnutrition, and if you are restricting the types of foods you need in your body, then it can mean that you aren’t getting the minerals and nutrients you need to function normally.
BDD, which is Body Dysmorphic Disorder has a subcategory in which you can see Muscle Dysmorphia, which is called Bigorexia. This is for those you see at the gym who just can’t get enough of pumping iron and getting “swole.” This body disorder is mainly seen in men who have the belief that they are too skinny, not muscular enough, or not chiseled enough. The thoughts can be so strong that it prohibits them from even going out and enjoying life because they see themselves as weaker or tinier than they actually are.
- Anorexia Athletica
Instead of purging yourself of the food you ate, this form of anorexia means that you are focusing on getting rid of those calories by exercising. You can see this disorder with people who allow their need to exercise (and not because of competition) to even get in the way of their normal routine or being social with family and friends. You can also see the connection with this order called also compulsive exercising.
- Night-eating Syndrome
Not to be diagnosing yourself if you like a late-night snack every now and then, but this disorder means that you really do not eat breakfast, or if you do, it is several hours after waking up because you are so distraught about how much you eat the previous night. Most of the calories you consume every day are eaten after hours.
If you feel like you might be displaying any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a professional or a doctor about getting help. The first step to making a better life for yourself on a daily basis is to admit what is going on with you and to seek help immediately. There are varying degrees of these disorders, therefore you might be displaying signs of the beginning of a particular disorder, or you might be at the limit and have the disorder ruling your life. Either way, there is help, and do not be afraid to seek it.