What is body image distortion?

Body image distortion is an inaccurate perception of one’s weight status. It is often seen in young girls, whoBody Image Distortion may believe they are overweight, when in reality their weight is within normal limits or under.

What causes body image distortion?

There is no single cause for body image distortion; however, low self-esteem is likely to be connected as well as altered thinking patterns that lead to anxiety or depression. It can be an indication of overall distress in one’s life more than actual unhappiness with one’s body. Children and teenagers suffering from this condition are at risk for eating disorders and other unsafe behaviors related to weight control.

How do I know if my child is struggling with body image distortion?

If your child or teen is demonstrating distress regarding their physical appearance, you may hear direct verbal complaints or simply witness unusual, dysfunctional or extreme dieting behaviors. A psychosocial or neurological evaluation completed by a professional is necessary to determine if body image distortion is an accurate description of your child’s presenting problems.

How can I help treat my child’s condition?

Families with children or teenagers suffering from body image issues should contact a professional counselor who can then conduct a psychosocial evaluation, so any other mental health disorder can be identified or ruled out. Assessment of symptoms of anxiety and/or depression is a crucial starting point when addressing this concern. Any weight management behaviors should be monitored closely for safety. Support should be given for any other difficulties that may be affecting his or her ability to fully succeed on a personal, social or academic level.

Our Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy

At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our social workers and professional counselors work with children and teenagers struggling with this condition through individual, group or family therapy. Body image distortion is most successfully treated by psychotherapy, and the most commonly used therapeutic approach is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Our neuropsychologists and licensed professional counselor will design a therapeutic treatment plan based on the evaluation of your child or teen’s overall mental health status.

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