A 2018 study conducted by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found that patients with BDD were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, and a 2019 study revealed that body dysmorphia is more prevalent with conditions of obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and ADHD.
“Living with body dysmorphic disorder can be overwhelming at times, and it can be even more of a challenge for people with ADHD,” said ADHD Online CEO Zachariah Booker. “BDD can make people focus on perceived flaws and on correcting them as a way to regain a sense of control. ADHD can amplify those tendencies because people with the condition are already more prone to impulsivity and distraction and have trouble with organization. That makes it far easier to follow the urge to brush your hair or pick at your skin instead of doing chores or managing uncomfortable emotions.”
Booker added that people with ADHD often have low self-esteem, which is caused by a lack of proper support and constant criticism that can leave people feeling inadequate.
ADHD Online suggests several ways people with ADHD can manage BDD:
- Improve their self-esteem. They should avoid the practice of comparing themselves to others, so they don’t hold unrealistic anchors of ideal beauty. Instead, they should focus on their unique qualities and strengths.
- Practice self-compassion. They should challenge the negative assumptions of their internal critic, possibly through meditation and positive affirmations, with the goal of being accepting, understanding and empathetic toward themselves.
- Learn to shift focus. With practice, they can learn to shift their focus from their body and negative thoughts by practicing mindfulness. One way is to refocus on their surroundings or current task, like making dinner or walking a dog.
- Increase body awareness. Practices like yoga, tai chi or body scan meditation help them focus on their body and its sensations and may resolve problems arising from ignoring what the body is saying or fighting against it.
- Connect with others. They can reach out to friends and family, or nonprofit organizations or local or online groups that offer peer support. Making connections with people who respect them as they are, and understand ADHD and BDD, will provide valuable reinforcement.
- Self-care. Proper sleep, diet and exercise can improve mood, lower anxiety and help manage ADHD symptoms. Regular physical activity can also help raise their self-esteem and feelings of body positivity. It’s best to avoid alcohol and recreational drugs, which can disrupt physical and mental health.
About ADHD Online
ADHD Online was founded in 2018 with the mission that everyone should have access to quality ADHD assessments regardless of who and where they are. The ADHD Online team is filled with industry experts across the United States who all share the same passion for ADHD and making sure patients have access to critical mental health services. ADHD Online is leading the way with being a critical voice for those who might be struggling with ADHD and is the only organization to offer HIPAA-secured ADHD assessments online with results from licensed psychologists. ADHD Online is active in all 50 states.
Source: ADHD Online