Body-Image Disturbance


Signs of Body-Image Disturbance

Body-image problems occur along a continuum that ranges from mild dissatisfaction to severe body-hate. Body-image disturbance is generally seen in conjunction with self-esteem issues, depression, eating disorders, or sexual abuse. These warning signs may indicate that a problem exists:

  • Unable to accept a compliment.
  • Mood is affected by how he/she thinks he/she looks.
  • Constantly compares self to others.
  • Calls himself/herself disparaging names — "fat", "gross", "ugly", "flabby".
  • Attempts to create a "perfect" image.
  • Seeks constant reassurance from others that his/her looks are acceptable.
  • Consistently overestimates/underestimates the size of his/her body or body parts.
  • Believes if he/she could attain his/her goal weight or size, he/she would accept himself/herself.
  • Allows his/her drive for thinness to supersede all of life's pleasure of goals.
  • Equates thinness with beauty, success, perfection, happiness, confidence, and self-control.
  • Compartmentalizes the body into parts — (thighs, stomach, buttocks, hips, etc.) rather than feeling connected to the whole body.
  • Has an ever-present fear of being fat — even if he/she is slim.
  • Has an overriding sense of shame about his/her self and his/her body.

Source: The Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders

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Kim Zittel, LMHC, NCC
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Isabel Molina, APRN BC
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