Body distortion is an increasingly discussed phenomenon in the psychological and medical fields, with its effects on mental and physical health being of great concern. It is characterized by the altered perception of one’s body size, shape and appearance, with individuals feeling that their body is much larger or smaller than it actually is (Kübler & Junne, 2020). Commonly associated with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa, body distortion is not only present in patients with such conditions, but can also be experienced by those without a diagnosed eating disorder (Holland, Alleva, & Tchanturia, 2017).
This phenomenon is associated with a range of psychological and physiological issues. From a psychological standpoint, body distortion is linked to low self-esteem, perfectionism, and negative body image (Hunkin, 2019). On the physiological side, it is associated with physical health problems such as malnutrition, hormone imbalances, and mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (Lavender & Anderson, 2018). As such, it is important to recognize and address body distortion as part of a comprehensive approach to mental and physical health.
Although the exact cause of body distortion is yet to be fully understood, it is believed to be a result of a combination of biological and psychological factors. On the biological side, genetic predisposition and hormonal imbalances are thought to play a role in the development of distorted body image (Lavender & Anderson, 2018). From a psychological perspective, body distortion is believed to be an adaptation to societal pressures, with individuals internalizing the standard of beauty presented in the media (Kübler & Junne, 2020). Furthermore, cognitive biases and distorted thinking patterns may contribute to the distorted body image (Holland et al., 2017).
In order to address body distortion, a comprehensive approach is needed that incorporates both psychological and physiological interventions. Psychologically, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may be used to help individuals identify and challenge distorted thoughts, learn healthier ways of thinking, and develop better coping skills (Kübler & Junne, 2020). Physiologically, nutritional counseling and hormone therapy may be used to improve physical health and address any underlying biological factors (Lavender & Anderson, 2018).
In conclusion, body distortion is a complex phenomenon that is linked to both mental and physical health issues. It is important that individuals, healthcare professionals, and society take the necessary steps to promote body positivity and address this issue in a comprehensive manner.
Holland, G., Alleva, J., & Tchanturia, K. (2017). Body distortion in anorexia nervosa: A systematic review. European Eating Disorders Review, 25(6), 474–485. https://doi.org/10.1002/erv.2548
Hunkin, N. (2019). Body distortion: Causes and treatments. The National Center for Eating Disorders. https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/body-image/body-distortion
Kübler, A., & Junne, F. (2020). Body image distortion in eating disorders: A review. Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, 25(2), 397–408. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-019-00736-x
Lavender, A., & Anderson, R. (2018). Factors contributing to body image distortion in eating disorders: A review. Eating Disorders, 26(4), 404–418. https://doi.org/10.1080/10640266.2018.1436681