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DearCasey01

Needing To Get Help For Acne Dysmorphic Disorder?

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I am 100000000% positive that I have developed acne dysmorphic disorder because of my traumatic experience with severe cystic acne. I am not being dramatic or exaggerating. It has affected my life completely. Acne has definitely caused serious mental problems with me. I'll spare you the details.

I just wanted to know what steps I need to take to get the help I need. I know I need to see a therapist/counselor but I don't know how. My parents just yell at me and tell me to get over it. I'm turning 18 in two weeks so I can start doing things independently.

How do I find a counselor/therapist that can help me? I know I need this, I think about suicide every single day, which is why I know I need help. And how could I afford it, does insurance cover that?

Any have any advice?

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I don't really know all the answers to your questions, but have you spoken to a school counselor? They're usually not equipped to deal with something like acne dysmorphic disorder, but they may be able to put you in touch with someone who can. I would ask them about being able to afford counseling as well. If you have a college near you, you may be able to get counseling services there for free or for a discounted price. Sorry I'm not more help, and I'm sorry you're going through this. I understand, and I am also seeing a counselor right now for it through my student health services.

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First, you will survive this. You are a strong person, you are seeking help, you have your entire life ahead of you and being aware there is such a thing as acne dysmorphia, you're light years ahead of where I was in my early twenties.

Counseling is expensive and dubiously helpful. Medications are hit or miss, and for me made things worse (ie precipitated a breakout worse than anything I was imagining in my dysmorphia.) There are suicide hotlines on the Resources bar in this forum, and of course this forum is here, active and sympathetic to you.

With every breakout, the effects of the trauma increase. There is much literature about PTSD, and acne is actually a symptom of PTSD, so there's a physiological connection if your mind/emotions place undue stress on your body.

A book that many have found helpful here is The Power of Now http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/The+Power+Of+Now/6311043. It teaches you how to step outside your mental processes and survey them. Just being aware that they are nothing but thoughts, you have some control and see the irrationality of dysmorphic thoughts- and any thought that takes away from the enjoyment of the present, the oneness of all things, the insignificance of suffering. This meditation is particularly helpful

There are herbs and supplements you can take that are far cheaper for obsessive thoughts, depression, and anxiety. They are safe and without side effects, and I have found them to be infinitely more effective, faster working and more consistent than psych meds.

They are:

St. John's Wort or St. John's Seng, GABA, 5-HTP, D3, B complex, Xiao Yao Wan (xiao yao pan,) Jeiyu San (yuzheng)

ActiveHerb and Ageless Herbs are just two websites where you can find the Chinese depression/anxiety herbs. I couldn't find the yuzheng specifically, but Free and Easy Wanderer and Blood Mansion blends on Ageless Herbs could benefit you, together or separately.

Treating your anxiety is half the battle in preventing acne. Don't let fear control your life.

Edited by Turn0ver

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I don't really know all the answers to your questions, but have you spoken to a school counselor? They're usually not equipped to deal with something like acne dysmorphic disorder, but they may be able to put you in touch with someone who can. I would ask them about being able to afford counseling as well. If you have a college near you, you may be able to get counseling services there for free or for a discounted price. Sorry I'm not more help, and I'm sorry you're going through this. I understand, and I am also seeing a counselor right now for it through my student health services.

I'm actually not in school. I have already graduated.

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i know how u feel so much
and yea parents can be such a pain itself its incredible, they just dont fucking get nothing at all...
idk if councelor can help u bcs it deff cant help me bt u could try!
i can just tell u, u look good in ur pic (do u have makeup on there?) and some pimples wont take away from ur appearance. i mean try to be happy abt tht ur not ugly at least, cos for ugly ppl flawless skin doesnt help anyway lol
pretty with acne > ugly with flawless skin
also what all have u tried to heal ur acne?
Edited by =shiki

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Hey there. I signed up for this site just to respond to you and try to offer you advice. I, too, suffer from this terrible, debilitating mental disorder. I battled severe cystic acne as a teen, and finally went on Accutane when I was 18. It did a fairly good job clearing me up, yet here I am, 30 years old now, on Accutane for a second time. I still get cysts every now and then, but to me they make me look hideous - most likely because seeing one will trigger a memory of how I used to look. Most people think my skin looks completely fine, yet I find it a mess and believe a second course of Accutane is my only hope.

Every day I wake up and pray that my skin is clear. The first thing I do is go to the bathroom and analyze my skin in the mirror. I've been suffering from these distorted (or at least that's what I'm being told - sometimes I think what I see is real and it's hard to separate reality from your perceived image of your "flaw") images of myself and obsessions over my skin for over a decade, and I'm just now learning about body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and more specifically, acne dysmorphia. For years I never spoke about it because I felt silly and didn't want people to mistake it for vanity (I am often told by strangers and friends alike that I am an extremely attractive young man, yet all I can focus on is how they could think that given the state of my skin?) so I've suffered in silence.

Just recently, I have sought psychiatric help. The first two therapists weren't much help, but my current one has been great at offering advice and exercises to try and re-train your brain to not think the way it currently does. BDD has completely ruined my life, and I'm holding on to the last bit of hope that therapy will pull me through.

If the above diatribe sounds similar to your situation, I encourage you to seek help immediately. Therapy can be expensive but some insurance does cover it. Do your research and often the doctor's office can help you with insurance billing. In the meantime, read up about the disorder. I'm currently reading "The Broken Mirror" by Katharine Phillips. It covers BDD (of which acne dysmorphic disorder is a subset). There isn't much information available on the disorder because it's underdiagnosed. Just know that you're not alone in your struggle.

My thoughts and prayers are with you on your journey back to health. I'm right there with you. I refuse to give up.

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I am 100000000% positive that I have developed acne dysmorphic disorder because of my traumatic experience with severe cystic acne. I am not being dramatic or exaggerating. It has affected my life completely. Acne has definitely caused serious mental problems with me. I'll spare you the details.

I just wanted to know what steps I need to take to get the help I need. I know I need to see a therapist/counselor but I don't know how. My parents just yell at me and tell me to get over it. I'm turning 18 in two weeks so I can start doing things independently.

How do I find a counselor/therapist that can help me? I know I need this, I think about suicide every single day, which is why I know I need help. And how could I afford it, does insurance cover that?

Any have any advice?

Forgive the rubbish advice that follows, although that is mainly because others have covered most aspects well above.

My advice, keep smiling because judging from your picture, you have a really lovely smile and you look beautiful. As someone said above, it's better to be good looking with acne than ugly without, as terrible as either situation is.

I'm sorry you've had to go through this but good luck.

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I'm currently in grad school for psychology, and I concurr with what Piagem said. A lot of times realizing and accepting you need help is hard - but also being committed to pursuing help and the right help for you can be just as hard and discouraging and can often times take patience. Look up psychologists and psychiatrists (psychiatrists can prescribe medication, psychologists cannot) in your area online and call them. Ask them for resources - ask for recommendations of therapists experienced in cognitive-behavioral therapy and treating BDD and other disorders in the anxiety and OCD spectrum. If you have financial limitations, tell them about that, as well.

Sometimes you will only be able to get a hold of the receptionist, and depending on that particular individual, their willingness to help and work to get you in contact with the doctor will vary. This will also extend to the therapists themselves, though generally less so. If the therapists have a website, try to find an email to contact them directly. That way you can thoughtfully explain your situation and they can thoughtfully respond in a time when they are not rushed. Unfortunately it is likely that you will come across people that will blow you off or give you a sort of "Sorry, I can't help you" answer. It will be discouraging and make you feel even more alone and helpless. But KEEP GOING. It may also be of import to mention your suicidal ideation in order to thoroughly communicate to whomever you're speaking to that your situation is urgent.

I was diagnosed with BDD at a VERY young age at a time when it was almost unheard of. A year after diagnosis, I was in an accident that left me in the ICU for 5 months and heavily scarred, obviously exasperating the symptoms to an awful degree. I've mostly controlled it and have made it an area of focus in my education. Someone mentioned The Broken Mirror, and that is definitely a good suggestion. I would expand on that however, and direct you to the author's (Dr. Katharine Phillips) website. Browse around it, but take special note of the "Where to Get Help" section - http://www.rhodeislandhospital.org/services/body-dysmorphic-disorder-program/where-to-get-help.html

Try to find someone in your area.

As is oft mentioned, it is a feat to recognize and acknowledge you need help. Less often mentioned is that another uphill battle is awaiting in finding the right therpist who can offer the right treatment for you and that is affordable for you. But don't give up. Try contacting Dr. Phillips if you can, or contact me on here if you are becoming desperate. Just please don't give up looking for help.

Try picking up a copy of The Broken Mirror and I would also suggest reading Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman - it is one of the most influential books I've ever read in my life and whenever I am feeling sad or angry or falling into depression about ANYTHING, I reread it. It helped/helps me to completely rewire my way of thinking and other self-critical thoughts.

Also, if you need help in determining what to say when you contact a therapist, let me know and I can help you with that as well.

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