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Body dysmorphia. How are we going?

Permanent Linkby margharris on Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:21 am

There is nothing easy about recovery from BDD or OCD. We know the amygdala is implicated. We know the amygdala creates fear templates based on prior experiences. It creates its own roadmap for how it responds to learned threats. The trouble is that it hasn't changed since the teen years when the map was first formed. It should have been modified inline with our age but for some reason it hasn't. This leaves the BDDer thinking looks are just as important as they were when 19. This is a massive distraction from the main game of living life well. You are left feeling you are just too horrible to be able to do life. You need this fix and then you can live.

So how is my son going? His BDD is very severe. A simple trip to the shops can have him unstuck. As he recently retold his story, I saw the whole amygdala hijack play out. He was just opening the door of the car and the pang of panic hit. He said he was ugly and so embarrassed. He grabbed for his hat.
The amygdala had recognized the situation was similar in someway to a prior experience when he was exposed to ridicule for a bit of hairloss by a girlfriend. It fired and sent the panic feeling. He immediately interpreted the feeling by saying how he had felt about hairloss. The trusted hat managed the anxiety. But where really was the threat? It was a learnt fear that was well past its use by date. But my son can't seem to modify it and get it out of his mind.
At his worst he may have had over twenty panic attacks in a single day. Today he probably had three. He did try today to hold onto something and describe it as a refocus aid but he was really too wound up for it to work. As more of the compulsions have fallen off, the touching has become much worse and so has the intrusive thoughts. He screamed today that he hears them all day. Interestingly, he now can create a panic from just looking at Facebook and seeing couples. It is not BDD related but more an issue with his real life.
Maybe that is a good thing and indicating that the genius coping strategy to divert attention onto the body and away from real life is failing. Wishful thinking at this stage. Marg

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