How to Help Patients with Disturbed Body Image: A Guide for Nursing Professionals

Imagine that you are a nurse working in a hospital ward. One day, you encounter a patient who has just undergone a mastectomy for breast cancer. She is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling, with tears in her eyes. She tells you that she feels ugly, worthless, and unlovable. She says that she hates her body and wishes she could die.

How would you respond to this patient? How would you help her cope with her disturbed body image and improve her self-esteem? How would you plan and implement a nursing care plan for her?

If you are a nursing professional who wants to learn how to help patients with disturbed body image, this article is for you. In this article, we will explain what disturbed body image is, what causes it, what signs and symptoms it presents, and how it can be diagnosed and treated. We will also provide some examples of nursing care plans for patients with disturbed body image, and discuss how Custom University Papers can help you with research writing services related to this topic.

What is Disturbed Body Image?

According to the NANDA-I nursing diagnosis, disturbed body image is “the state in which an individual experiences confusion in the mental picture of his or her physical self”. Disturbed body image can affect any part or aspect of the body, such as the size, shape, weight, skin, hair, or facial features. Disturbed body image can also affect the function or performance of the body, such as the strength, agility, or sexuality.

Disturbed body image can be caused by various factors, such as physical changes, trauma, illness, surgery, aging, media, culture, or peer pressure. Disturbed body image can lead to various problems, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harm, or social isolation. Therefore, nurses need to be able to identify, assess, and intervene for patients with disturbed body image.

What Causes Disturbed Body Image?

Disturbed body image can have various causes, depending on the type and location of the fluid overload. Some of the common causes are:

  • Physical changes, either due to natural or artificial factors, such as puberty, pregnancy, menopause, weight gain or loss, acne, scars, tattoos, piercings, or cosmetic surgery, which can alter the appearance or function of the body.
  • Trauma, either physical or psychological, such as burns, injuries, accidents, abuse, violence, or rape, which can damage or disfigure the body or affect the sense of safety or control over the body.
  • Illness, either acute or chronic, such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, or stroke, which can impair or threaten the health or survival of the body or cause side effects such as hair loss, fatigue, or pain.
  • Surgery, either elective or necessary, such as mastectomy, hysterectomy, amputation, or organ transplant, which can remove or replace a part of the body or change its appearance or function.
  • Aging, which can cause natural or inevitable changes in the body, such as wrinkles, sagging, gray hair, or decreased mobility, which can affect the perception of attractiveness, vitality, or usefulness of the body.
  • Media can expose the individual to unrealistic or idealized images of beauty, fitness, or success, which can create or reinforce dissatisfaction, comparison, or pressure to conform to body standards.
  • Culture can influence the values, norms, or expectations of the body, such as the preferences, meanings, or symbols of the body features, colors, or shapes, which can affect the acceptance, appreciation, or respect of body diversity.
  • Peer pressure, can affect the opinions, attitudes, or behaviors of the individual regarding the body, such as compliments, criticisms, or teasing of the body, which can affect the confidence, pride, or shame of the body.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Disturbed Body Image?

Disturbed body image can manifest in various signs and symptoms, depending on the severity and duration of the condition. Some of the common signs and symptoms are:

  • Verbal or nonverbal expressions of dissatisfaction, shame, or disgust with one’s body or appearance, such as saying “I hate my body”, “I’m ugly”, or “I wish I looked different”.
  • Frequent or excessive checking, grooming, hiding, or altering of one’s body or appearance, such as looking at the mirror, weighing oneself, applying makeup, wearing loose or tight clothing, or undergoing cosmetic procedures.
  • Avoidance or refusal of looking at, touching, or caring for one’s body or appearance, such as covering the mirrors, skipping meals, neglecting hygiene, or rejecting medical treatments.
  • Comparison or criticism of one’s body or appearance with others or with unrealistic standards, such as saying “I’m too fat”, “I’m too thin”, or “I’m not good enough”.
  • Seeking or undergoing unnecessary or extreme cosmetic procedures or treatments to change one’s body or appearance, such as liposuction, botox, or plastic surgery.
  • Restriction or distortion of one’s diet, exercise, or clothing to control one’s body or appearance, such as starving, bingeing, purging, overexercising, or wearing inappropriate or uncomfortable clothing.
  • Difficulty or reluctance in engaging in social, academic, or occupational activities that involve one’s body or appearance, such as avoiding parties, dates, or presentations, or dropping out of school, work, or hobbies.
  • Impairment or dissatisfaction in one’s sexual or intimate relationships due to one’s body or appearance, such as having low libido, avoiding intimacy, or experiencing sexual dysfunction.

How is Disturbed Body Image Diagnosed and Treated?

Disturbed body image can be diagnosed and treated by using various methods and interventions, depending on the cause and extent of the condition. Some of the common methods and interventions are:

  • History and physical examination, which can help identify the possible causes and signs of disturbed body image, such as the patient’s medical history, medications, lifestyle, stressors, or trauma, as well as the patient’s vital signs, weight, height, body mass index, or skin condition.
  • Psychological assessment, which can help measure the level and impact of disturbed body image, such as the patient’s self-esteem, mood, thoughts, behaviors, relationships, or quality of life, using standardized tools, such as the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Questionnaire, the Body Image Scale, or the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale.
  • Laboratory tests, which can help rule out or treat any underlying medical or physical conditions that may affect or result from disturbed body image, such as hormonal imbalance, nutritional deficiency, infection, or inflammation, using blood, urine, or tissue samples.
  • Medications can help reduce the symptoms or complications of disturbed body image, such as antidepressants, antianxiety agents, or anti-inflammatory agents, depending on the patient’s condition and tolerance.
  • Psychotherapy, which can help address the psychological and emotional aspects of disturbed body image, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can help the patient identify and challenge their negative or irrational thoughts and beliefs about their body or appearance, and replace them with more positive or realistic ones, or dialectical behavior therapy, which can help the patient cope with their negative or distressing emotions and impulses, and improve their interpersonal skills and self-regulation.
  • Support groups, which can help provide the patient with social and emotional support, information, and resources, from other people who have similar or shared experiences or challenges with disturbed body image, such as online or offline forums, communities, or organizations.
  • Education and counseling, which can help the patient and their family or caregivers understand and cope with disturbed body image, and promote healthy and positive body image, such as teaching the patient about the causes, signs, and complications of disturbed body image, the importance of self-care and self-acceptance, the influence of media and culture on body image, and the lifestyle modifications and self-help strategies to prevent or manage disturbed body image.

How to Write a Nursing Care Plan for Disturbed Body Image

To provide effective and holistic care for patients with disturbed body image, nurses need to develop and implement nursing care plans that address the patient’s specific needs and problems. Nursing care plans are systematic and individualized plans that outline the nursing diagnosis, goals, interventions, and evaluation for a patient. Here are some examples of nursing care plans for patients with disturbed body image, based on the NANDA-I nursing diagnoses:

  • Disturbed body image related to physical changes secondary to severe trauma, as evidenced by verbal reports of revulsion and hiding of the affected limb.
    • Goal: The patient will verbalize acceptance of physical changes and demonstrate positive coping skills within 2 weeks.
    • Interventions:
      • Assess and document the patient’s body image, self-esteem, mood, thoughts, and behaviors, using standardized tools and scales, as appropriate.
      • Provide emotional support and empathy to the patient, and acknowledge their feelings and concerns about their body image and appearance.
      • Encourage the patient to express their feelings and thoughts about their body image and appearance, and listen actively and respectfully, without judgment or criticism.
      • Educate the patient about the purpose, benefits, and outcomes of the surgery, and the expected physical changes and recovery process, using simple and clear language and visual aids, as appropriate.
      • Assist the patient in looking at, touching, or caring for the affected limb, as tolerated, and provide positive feedback and reinforcement for their efforts and progress.
      • Teach the patient positive coping skills and strategies, such as relaxation techniques, distraction methods, or affirmations, to deal with their negative or distressing emotions and thoughts about their body image and appearance.
  • Refer the patient to other health care professionals or resources, such as a psychologist, a counselor, or a support group, for further assessment and intervention, as needed.
    • Evaluation: The patient verbalized acceptance of physical changes and demonstrated positive coping skills within 2 weeks.
  • Disturbed body image related to distorted perception of body weight and shape secondary to bulimia nervosa, as evidenced by binge eating, purging, laxative abuse, and denial of having a problem.
    • Goal: The patient will maintain a healthy body weight and develop a realistic and positive body image within 3 months.
    • Interventions:
      • Monitor and record the patient’s vital signs, weight, height, body mass index, and laboratory results, such as electrolytes, glucose, and thyroid function, daily or as ordered.
      • Administer medications, such as antidepressants, antianxiety agents, or nutritional supplements, as prescribed, and monitor their effects and side effects.
      • Collaborate with a dietitian or a nutritionist to develop and implement a balanced and individualized meal plan for the patient, and supervise their food intake and output, as ordered.
      • Provide a safe and supportive environment for the patient, and limit their access to potential triggers or harmful substances, such as food, bathrooms, or laxatives.
      • Engage the patient in cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help the patient identify and challenge their negative or irrational thoughts and beliefs about their body weight and shape, and replace them with more positive or realistic ones.
      • Involve the patient in recreational or leisure activities that can enhance their self-esteem, mood, and well-being, such as art, music, or gardening, and avoid activities that can emphasize or worsen their body image, such as sports, fashion, or beauty.
      • Educate the patient and their family or caregivers about the causes, signs, and complications of bulimia nervosa, the importance of maintaining healthy body weight and developing a realistic and positive body image, the need for medications and nutritional supplements, the proper techniques and precautions for bingeing, purging, or laxative abuse, and the lifestyle modifications and self-care measures to prevent or manage bulimia nervosa.
    • Evaluation: The patient maintained a healthy body weight and developed a realistic and positive body image within 3 months.

These are just some of the examples of nursing care plans for patients with disturbed body image. There are many other nursing diagnoses, goals, interventions, and evaluations that can be used for different patients and situations. The key is to use the nursing process, standards, and ethics, as well as the best available evidence and practice, to create and implement nursing care plans that are effective and holistic.

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Conclusion

Disturbed body image is a common and challenging condition that affects many patients with mental health disorders, neurological diseases, substance abuse, or medication side effects. It can cause various symptoms, such as confusion, delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, or memory loss, that interfere with the patient’s ability to function and cope with daily life. Nurses need to be able to identify, assess, and intervene for patients with disturbed body image, using the nursing process, standards, and ethics, as well as the best available evidence and practice. Nurses also need to write effective and comprehensive nursing care plans for patients with disturbed body image, using the appropriate format and style, and citing their sources correctly. However, not all students and professionals have the time, resources, or expertise to write nursing care plans for disturbed body image. That is why they seek the help of professional nursing care plan writing services, such as Custom University Papers, which can provide them with high-quality and customized nursing care plans for disturbed body image, or any other topic, level, format, or deadline. Custom University Papers can also help them with editing, proofreading, formatting, and referencing their nursing care plans, and can ensure that their nursing care plans meet the standards and requirements of their institution and discipline. Custom University Papers has a team of over 400 qualified and experienced writers, who have at least a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing or a related field, as well as relevant and extensive experience in writing nursing care plans for disturbed body image. Custom University Papers also offers various benefits and guarantees to its clients, such as affordable and flexible prices, timely and reliable delivery, 24/7 customer support, a money-back guarantee, free revisions, and complete confidentiality.

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