Tag: Treatment

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder

What is body dysmorphic disorder?

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental health disorder when someone has an obsession that an aspect of their body or appearance is severely flawed. They believe that it needs to be hidden or altered – and will take exceptional measures to hide or attempt to fix it.

These flaws they “see” are most often imagined and other people cannot usually see anything wrong. If there is actually any flaw, in the mind of someone with BDD it is drastically exaggerated.

Also sometimes called body dysmorphia or dysmorphophobia, BDD causes great distress to anyone suffering from it. They may spend days on end only stressing and thinking about the flaw or flaws they believe they have.

Their thoughts about it can be totally intrusive and stop them from living normal daily life. This clearly has a negative impact on them and can badly affect those around them as well.

Someone suffering from BDD is more likely to turn to excessive drinking and/or using drugs or a behavioral addiction in an attempt to change their negative feelings. They are more likely as well to suffer from stress, anxiety, or depression.

Who does BDD affect?

Who does Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Physician Enrico Morselli reported in the 1880s a disorder in people that he called dysmorphophobia. He was using it to describe a condition he had observed in some people who felt they were ugly even when there was nothing about their appearance that was unattractive.

A hundred years later the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognized the disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The term body dysmorphic disorder was first used in this book in 1987.

BDD is classified as an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that’s estimated to affect five million to 10 million people in the US. Usually, it starts during the teenage years and affects both males and females.

BDD subtype “muscle dysmorphia” – a preoccupation that one’s body is not muscular enough and too skinny – affects mostly males. Sometimes muscle dysmorphia is known as “megarexia”, “bigorexia” or “reverse anorexia”.

What are the signs of BDD?

Signs and symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Having BDD does not indicate that someone is vain. But it usually has a devastating effect on the person with BDD.

For instance, some have delusions that other people are subtly pointing out or noticing their flaws without saying anything directly. BDD’s severity can change, but when it is intense it can mean avoidance of work, college, and socializing.

Someone with BDD can focus on any aspect of themselves. Most commonly it is the face, hair, and/or skin.

BDD symptoms include: 

  • Repeatedly and obsessively checking appearance. 
  • Frequently comparing themselves (or a part of themselves) with other people.
  • Continually seeking verbal reassurances.
  • Constantly choosing and/or changing outfits or such as brushing hair, cleaning teeth and putting on make-up in an attempt to cover “flaws”.
  • Looking in mirrors a lot. Or going to great lengths to completely avoid seeing their reflection.
  • Picking at skin to “smooth” it. This can create lesions that make it worse.
  • Poor focus and motivation due to not being able to stop compulsively thinking about attempting to fix the “flaw”.
  • Self-harm and even suicidal thoughts.

As with most mental health disorders, BDD’s cause is complex and likely because of multiple factors, including psychological, social, and cultural aspects. It can be the result of trauma, toxic shame, or some form of a “failure of love”, frequently experienced in childhood.

Many people suffering from BDD seek dermatological treatment or cosmetic surgery. Most often these do not help to resolve their condition, certainly not in the long term.

Due to the person with BDD feeling flawed, it can be extremely difficult for people to seek help for BDD. But seeking help from an expert in this type of disorder is vital because symptoms probably will not go away on their own – and will most often get progressively worse.

However, with treatment, they can start to improve straightaway. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has helped people with mild BDD.

Our professional team of experts has helped people with every type of emotional problem and mental health disorder. Call us today to discuss how we can help you or someone you know.


Boredom – why we get bored and what it can mean

Most people get bored now and then. But for some people boredom becomes their norm – and this can be a sign that someone needs to make significant changes.

For one thing, boredom is not good for our physical and mental well-being. It can steal our energy and just leave us so lethargic that we do absolutely nothing.

Then it becomes a vicious cycle. Life seems empty and without meaning.

It can be something that is extremely difficult to break away from – then it can develop into depression. Or it can be a sign that someone’s already depressed.

Also, it’s possible that having a mental health condition can increase the chances of being bored. So it’s always essential not to ignore any boredom that seems to go on.

Who gets bored?

Getting bored

Virtually everyone gets bored at times and maybe more during specific periods of their life. In fact, a study of 2,000 Americans that was published in 2019 found the average American experiences 131 days of boredom every year, which is more than a third of their year.

In other surveys, over the years it is generally recognized that adolescents will experience being bored more than other age groups. Also, men say they are bored more often than women.

Boredom leaves us feeling empty, unable to focus our attention and it’s frequently combined with feeling frustrated. There’s a burgeoning lack of interest in anything, and people suffering from boredom feel listless, apathetic, fatigued – and often but not obviously anxious about everything too.

Increased risks due to boredom

Boredom can be a sign that something needs addressing in someone’s life – that maybe there are unresolved histories to be looked at and/or present changes to be made. It can be connected to feelings of anger, despair, anxiety, and loneliness.

For many people, it is what is behind these feelings that really needs to be looked at in order to resolve the boredom. But instead many people look to other things in an attempt to stop feeling so bored.

Many of these are clearly unhealthy, and include:

  • Behavioral addictions including gambling, shopping, exercise, gaming, looking at pornography, the internet and social media.
  • Smoking cigarettes and/or marijuana.
  • Alcohol abuse.
  • Substance abuse & addiction.
  • Binge eating or continual snacking.
  • Eating unhealthily.
  • Taking risks.
  • Self-harm.
  • Having a one-night stand or an affair.
  • Making irrational choices, such as quitting a job without any means to pay your way.

What’s behind boredom?

Who's behind boredom

When people feel trapped they can experience boredom. It’s perhaps one reason that teenagers and many in their early 20s often complain of being bored.

They want to get out there among the excitement of the big wide world, but until a certain age are dependent on their parents. Often as well, teens and younger people are studying, which requires a lot of repetition to learn things – plus they know the time could be spent alternatively having fun with their friends or doing a sport or hobby they love.

However, there’s immense pressure from society and family to pass those exams. It means sitting around more than a young person is supposed to – and it’s as if the energy they have inside is bursting to escape.

Boredom at any age can be caused by repetition and a lack of interest in whatever we are doing. Many modern-day jobs are repetitive and extremely predictable.

As well, anything that’s too easy can be boring. We switch off and then it is almost as if our minds and bodies are craving something else.

But people feel trapped because they need to earn money to pay their way. It is clear that jobs that are also our hobby or that are different most days are the least likely to lead to boredom.

Sometimes this is coupled with someone not really knowing what their hobbies are – perhaps all their adult life they’ve had to work and had a young family to look after, so they’ve never had the time to discover their true passions. Or perhaps they do know what they are, but just can’t seem to escape the rat race, even for one minute… and so they feel bored with not only their daily tasks but with their overall life.

Some people are more prone and likely to be bored than others. For instance, those with extrovert personalities may need more excitement in life to feel it’s fulfilled.

Boredom is also connected to problems with keeping attention. Consequently, someone with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) will frequently feel bored. Someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can also find that boredom comes on them much more quickly due to the nature of their condition.

In addition, sometimes a chronic illness can leave people feeling bored. For instance, if someone cannot get out and about as they would like it can obviously create problems.

Boredom as a signpost

Boredom as a signpost

Boredom often serves a purpose though. Think of it as a call to adventure, which is the first stage of the hero’s journey.

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) described boredom as “the unpleasant calm that precedes creative acts”. So boredom can be the inspiration for taking action, for doing things differently, for making changes.

It can also be an indication that repeatedly doing something is a waste of your valuable time. This can be a strong persuasion not to carry on with it.

Consider that the study of 2,000 Americans published in 2019 revealed 60 percent of US adults thought that behind their boredom was the fact they felt their life was too “grown-up”. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed admitted missing aspects of their childhood.  This included having fewer responsibilities, spending time with friends, and not going to parties.

So the solution is obvious if anyone is feeling bored because they feel too grown-up – find your childlike wonder again! Meet your friends, organize parties, go to parties, and try to find ways to have some less responsibility (and this – never saying no – can sometimes be linked to being a “people-pleaser”).

Staying socially active helps a great deal. Say yes to those invites, make sure to do your favorite hobbies, do some exercise, get out there. Then even if you have many things that feel like a grind, there’s always something to look forward to that will make those tedious tasks and hours pass by much quicker.

So join a club, book a court, try a new hobby or rekindle your passion for a previous pastime, do some voluntary charity work, find reasons to throw a party… As the phrase says: life’s what you make it.

Getting outside and away

Another way to beat boredom is to get outside of yourself, and this is always achieved if you do things for others. Even making a phone call to a long-time friend or elderly relative, but keep the conversation about how they are and what they are doing in life. This will not only alleviate boredom but will also make you feel good inside.

Then, aim to be mindful, be present in the now. If we truly focus on what we are doing – using all our senses – it can make even the most mundane seem interesting.

Sleeping well is important too. If we don’t have enough energy it can mean we feel bored before we even start.

If you choose to spend some time here with us at Tikvah Lake you can be assured of having the most peaceful sleep. Everything about our luxury mansion has been created with calm and tranquility in mind.

Getting away is another way to beat boredom. We’re fortunate to be surrounded by breathtaking nature. That includes our beautiful lake – that’s ideal for boating or just sitting on its shores to meditate or read a brilliant book.

Our experienced team has first-rate expertise in treating people with every emotional problem and type of mental health issue. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you or someone you know, starting today.

Image of Outdoor greenyard at Tikvah Lake Recovery

Why getting away to a recovery center can be the best thing to do

Someone who’s experiencing emotional difficulties or mental health problems might find help through a weekly therapy session or a Twelve Steps group. For many people, this can be a successful way to recovery – but for countless others, there is the need for something more.

For instance, someone might have alcohol addiction issues. Going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, especially to start with, is not for everyone – but even for some of those who start attending regular meetings outside temptations can sometimes just seem too much.

They cannot be at the meetings or with like-minded people who also attend the meetings at all times every day. Nearby are still all the old bars they used to visit along with their old drinking buddies.

If drugs are an issue it could be that the dealer is still around, still getting in touch… If someone has issues with depression or anxiety it can be that their family is still calling around every day and that’s one of the main triggers for their debilitating condition.

Temptations and triggers 

Addiction Temptation

Maybe it’s their home life itself, or perhaps they cannot switch off and relax because it seems as if every five minutes a work demand is hitting them. For some people, there’s an ex-partner living too close.

If any of these or similar scenarios are in place, it can mean that although someone really wants to make significant changes, they can never seem to get off the starting blocks. Before they know it, they are back where they started in terms of their addiction or mental health.

Because mental health conditions and addictions nearly always get progressively worse unless treated, this can be a very dangerous place to be. It’s one reason why recovery centers exist. They help people get away and start making the significant progress they can in a relatively brief period of time.

At a point then into their recovery, the temptations and triggers of their regular life where they live will not hold such power over them. They will be capable of continuing their progressive recovery where they live by this stage.

But a time away from all of that has proven immensely beneficial to thousands of people. They need to step away from their ordinary life to a safe place in order to get back on the right track. 

How to choose a recovery center

Take a look at where it is. It doesn’t necessarily need to be somewhere close to where you live. In fact, having some distance is often of the greatest benefit.

See what facilities are there. Tranquility and calm will always help with recovery because it allows someone to focus on what they need to in order to get well.

Also, consider the size of the recovery center. Many are so big that they are bound to be busy and not so personal.

It’s something we consider essential here at Tikvah Lake. This is why we never have more than six guests staying with us at any one time.

One-on-one therapy every day

“There are three things I wanted here,” says Dr. David Nesenoff, CEO of Tikvah Lake Recovery and a counselor for more than three decades. “First is that the facility should be only housing a few people at a time. Secondly, that the therapists conduct one-on-one therapy.”

At Tikvah Lake, our therapists are carefully selected to have the greatest expertise. Our friendly experienced team has treated people with all types of mental health problems.

“One-on-one therapy is where the majority of people make the greatest and swiftest recovery,” continues David. “Yet, many recovery centers only have one-on-one therapy sessions once a week.

“It’s very difficult to change human behavior. So what it takes is personalized one-on-one therapy every single day, multiple times a day.”

An ideal environment for recovery

There was another essential part of making the ideal recovery center. “Thirdly, I wanted Tikvah Lake to be in a beautiful environment,” says David. “That’s somewhere with beautiful surroundings to get you out of wherever you are and plant you in a place where you’re ready to restore your life, ready to revive and begin again.”

For this reason, everything about Tikvah Lake has been made with calm and relaxation uppermost in mind. That’s why it’s known as “a recovery oasis”.

Tikvah Lake’s surroundings are absolutely stunning. This includes our wonderful tranquil lake. It’s therapeutic on its own, ideal for reflection with the calm it radiates. Many guests meditate on its shores or go out boating to relax.

There is also breathtaking nature all around – with terrific access to State Park trails and all the benefits that come from being among nature. This can all be enjoyed throughout the year because of the warmth and light of the Florida sunshine.

More recovery center benefits

Another key aspect is that anyone who comes to Tikvah Lake is a guest – not a patient or client. Tikvah Lake is a family-run center and as such everybody is treated as if they are family.

“Our guests are receiving a family-type environment,” says Tikvah Lake’s Clinical Director Dr. Jeff Allen. “We are a home. When I think of home I think of family, dinners, love, smiles, laughter, and help. We have this here.”

There are many other benefits to staying at a recovery center and choosing one of the treatment programs such as the 10-Day Executive one that Tikvah Lake offers. For instance, there’s always someone around such as a therapist – so help is on hand whenever it’s needed.

Another is that there are most likely to be like-minded individuals who are also looking for a recovery in their own lives. These are people who can help each other and lifelong friendships are made due to their strong connection.

Once removed from regular life with all its distractions, people can be more focused on their recovery. Anyone’s time at a recovery center is their personal recovery time and they can give 100 percent to getting well.

Many people who start recovery have neglected to look after themselves. This is often obvious if someone has been addicted to drinking and/or drugs, but it is also the case with a behavioral addiction such as work or gaming. As well, people who’ve been suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression have often been unable to take care of themselves.

In addition, everyone always sleeps better at Tikvah Lake due to the tranquil ambiance and large luxury private suites with en-suite bathrooms. Improved sleep clearly helps with getting emotionally and physically healthy – and it gives a positive energy boost too.

When people are struggling they will often miss out on meals or eat unhealthy food in a rush. This is completely turned around so that mealtimes are relaxing and enjoyable occasions.

Our professional chef serves world-class food and knows just the right ingredients to help each person individually. All food is fresh, healthy and utterly delicious too.

Contact us today for a confidential chat to discover how we can help you or someone you care about get into recovery.

It takes great courage to reach out for help. But the positive results can be swift and truly remarkable.

Why secondary losses are a double whammy for grievers

Why secondary losses are a ‘’double whammy’’ for grievers

The term ”secondary losses” has a habit of sounding dismissive – particularly for grievers who believe these losses to be anything but easy!

”Secondary loss” refers to the losses resulting from a death (direct loss). These are usually non-death losses like losses related to financial security, sense of self, a sense of purpose, and support systems.

Essentially, secondary losses are in no way less strenuous or less traumatizing than primary losses. Unfortunately, however, as many grievers will attest, secondary losses are often overlooked at best and utterly unacknowledged at worst.

What are secondary losses?

The death of a loved one is a life-altering experience.

Multiple losses

Ultimately, forever losing someone we thought would always be around, whether that person is a sibling, parent, child, or partner, often throws our lives off course, disrupting any plans and goals.

Losing a loved one frequently catapults people into existential crisis since the feelings and emotions associated with grief, among many things, often change an individual’s identity, perception, and sense of self.

The result of the death

Loss of a loved one

For many grievers, this ‘loss of self’ allows them to view the world and those around them through an entirely different lens, usually a traumatic one.

Regardless of the circumstances and who might have passed away, grief is a leveler. It changes the emotional baseline of a person, sometimes forever. 

All this is where the secondary losses come into play.

Grieving process

Within the mental health field, the losses that get called secondary are a normal part of grief – they may unfold over time or manifest immediately in the aftermath of a death.

Identifying and acknowledging secondary losses can often be the first step to grieving them, but what are they?

Many losses

Essentially, after the death of a loved one – bereaved individuals may find that the remaining people in their lives have become difficult to identify with and connect to, and this can be disconcerting. 

They may even feel that the people around them have changed or treat them differently from how they did before.

Often, all this can result in the death of the remaining relationships left in a grievers’ life.

There are also the financial implications of dealing with death to consider. For example, the loss of a parent might result in the family house getting sold or paying off any debt that a deceased loved one may have accrued.

Support systems

By and large, many grievers will experience multiple losses post-bereavement while dealing with the ramifications of a loved ones’ death. 

These secondary losses include:

  • Friendships (this may involve losing numerous friends or a best friend who no longer identifies with or understands you post-bereavement)
  • Home (many people move house after experiencing a loss, which can create different feelings of grief, such as loss of familiarity, memories, etc.)
  • Identity
  • Traditions
  • Privacy (grievers may have to move in with other family members due to debt or other financial circumstances)
  • Relationships (many grievers report losing significant relationships post-bereavement, such as cutting ties with their brother, mom, wife, children, husband or another critical relationship)
  • Loss of a support system

Grief process

Secondary losses add another dimension to grief, whether it’s our best friends that we lose in the wake of a death or another person who has (fortunately) not died.

Essentially, the pain of a secondary loss is not to get sniffed at, and many people require support in understanding the complex process of secondary loss.

How to move forward

Many grief specialists speak about secondary losses as a way for grievers to grow; since we often use the people in our lives as crutches, we get to choose whether we sink or swim when this support system gets taken away.

Understanding our loss of support

Being consciously aware of secondary losses allows grievers the opportunity to identify them – it may not make the grieving process of secondary loss any less painful, but it does make it less confusing.

Broadly, putting a name to something allows us to look at it from a different vantage point. 

By doing this, we may end up feeling less alone. We may even find it easier to open up and talk to the remaining people in our lives about our losses.

Many grief recovery programs teach people to come to terms with their grief by adopting strategies that allow them to view their losses in a different light.

It will never be OK to lose a friend, father, mother, brother, or another family member, but having the right support group can be the difference between moving forward or staying stuck in our grief.

Grieving the loss

The most basic recovery strategy is allowing ourselves the space to grieve our losses.

All this sounds simple enough, yet so many grievers feel an incredible amount of pressure to be ” over it” months later or to put on a brave face after someone they love has passed away.

One loss after another

In many cases, grievers often end up feeling like burdens in the wake of grief since, primarily, society is ill-prepared to support grievers.

As a result, many people smile, drink or ”good vibes” their way through the bereavement process, believing that their ”silence” will make the remaining people in their lives stick around.

However, all this is not sustainable in the long-term, and eventually, the cracks begin to show, inevitably resulting in difficult conversations, and as is often the case, additional losses.

Sorry for your loss

Essentially, people will assume that a griever only has to deal with one loss, which is the primary loss. 

Yet, surprisingly, plenty of prevailing grief theories have also failed to recognize the unyielding impact of secondary losses.

Stroebe and Schutt, 1999 explained the impact of secondary loss as ”a lack of recognition of the range of stressors, the diversity of losses, integral to the bereavement experience. Not only is there the loss of the person, but adjustments have to get made concerning many aspects of life.” 

Grief types

Research suggests that secondary losses are related to ”other types of loss” including:

Disenfranchised grief

Bereavement specialist Ken Doka coined the term ”disenfranchised grief” describing it as:

”Grief that person’s experience when they incur a loss that is not or cannot be openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned or publicly mourned.”

When a loss gets considered disenfranchised, it means that the person isn’t getting the validation or support they need.

Unfortunately, non-death losses often go unacknowledged and unsupported. 

This often results in people viewing their losses as obstacles to overcome rather than things that need to be grieved.

Ambiguous loss

Ambiguous loss is a similar bereavement process to disenfranchised grief; when something is ambiguous, a person is uncertain about what (or who) was lost or whether a loss has occurred at all.

This type of grief usually occurs in scenarios where

1) a loved one has a terminal health condition (like dementia),

2) a person is physically present. Still, a significant aspect of their identity has changed, or

3) when a person is physically absent but possibly still alive.

In both these instances, there has been a dramatic change that induces feelings of loss.

However, a person might feel confused and conflicted about whether or not they should grieve these losses since the person they love is still alive, and there is often a sense of hope that things will eventually return to normal.


Recovering from grief

The words ”recovery” and ”loss” often feel incompatible, particularly in early grief. Is it possible to ever get over losing a son, a dad, our parents? Probably not.

However, there is often a way for people to get unstuck from the clutches of raw, unrelenting grief usually present every day in the early weeks, months (sometimes years) following a significant loss.

The road to recovery involves many aspects, one of them being the acceptance that life will be different without the presence of the people that once filled it. There will always be a void in many ways, one that can eventually get filled again in the future, but with something entirely different.

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If you or a loved one are struggling to come to terms with a bereavement, get in touch with a member of the team today who will be able to help.

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