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For those with body dysmorphic disorder, masks do more than protect. They help them function

February 21, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.3%. 1 min read.

For those struggling with body dysmorphia, wearing masks is making everyday life more bearable.

This entire year with mask-wearing has been great," she said.

She said the pandemic has supported a pre-existing tendency in BDD patients to isolate themselves and hide their features.

But suffering from both BDD and gender dysphoria, he said that they help him, and others, better affirm his gender identity.

Unable to take testosterone, Eli said both gender dysphoria and BDD make him fixate on his face.

He said that BDD adds another layer of difficulty when it comes to self-acceptance as a trans person, especially in regards to coming out.

Being properly gendered helps, though -- and the way masks facilitate this makes them a "safety blanket," he said, while he works toward self-acceptance.

A large piece of BDD treatment though, Gorbis said, is not camouflaging -- it's exposure.

Exposure can help BDD patients live with this feedback loop, she said, while other patients find relief in cognitive behavioral therapy, medication or a combination of treatment methods.

Still, she said, many BDD sufferers never even find themselves in treatment -- a dangerous fact, given the severity of the illness.

A 2011 study showed that with enough time, BDD patients frequently make full recoveries and rarely relapse -- signaling a horizon beyond the exhaustion for people like Darr.

Darr and Eli both said they would continue to wear masks if they believed they wouldn't be judged post-pandemic -- but Darr has a more permanent plan.

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