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Shana Parsons
Shana Parsons, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 13
Experience:  Masters Degree, 8 mos shy of PHD and a license to practice in TX (in process of full licensure)
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What would cause a person to have such a strong aversion to

Customer Question

What would cause a person to have such a strong aversion to facial imperfections (warts, acne scars, burns, pimples or blemishes of any kind) that it would make them physically ill? Also, a severely low self-image have any relationship to this reaction?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Shana Parsons replied 5 years ago.
This sounds to me like a bit of body dysmorphic disorder and somatization of anxiety.
Low self image could indeed have a lot to do with this reaction.

Individuals with low self esteem are at greater risk of developing body image related issues such as body dysmorphic disorder-especially women!
It is possible that a person with BDD could become so anxious about their appearance that it manifests itself into physical complaints or illness.

Does this answer your question?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I can see how a person with body image issues might be "repulsed" or "disgusted" - maybe even "sickened" by imperfections in her own body. But would they have that same reaction to seeing imperfections in others? My friend is sometimes physically ill to the point of throwing up when she sees a scar on someone's face. It's not always that severe. But she says there's always a definite "clenching" of her stomach muscles, and a slight sickness, even when she gets close to someone with the kind of pitted complexion one is left with after having had severe acne. Or, for instance, a large wart or mole on someone's forehead might make her feel nauseated. Does body dysmorphic disorder extend to reactions to that type of imperfection in others?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Also, to save time, let me go ahead and ask this: If your answer to my question is "yes," is there treatment that would help her? Can you give me any idea of what it might involve?
Expert:  Shana Parsons replied 5 years ago.
Well,
yes.
A person could develop a sick reaction to others' imperfections. This may not be BDD however.
It could just be a type of phobia she has developed and her reaction to what she is repulsed by is to become physically ill.
So it is more likely to be a type of phobia than BDD.
The treatment is exposure to the trigger to basically gain experience that the trigger is not necessarily "bad"
Does that make sense?
Ask more if I didn't answer it... not sure I answered your question
Shana Parsons, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 13
Experience: Masters Degree, 8 mos shy of PHD and a license to practice in TX (in process of full licensure)
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