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The Heartbreaking Reason It Took Catherine Over An Hour Just To Choose An Outfit

Even going out for a cup of coffee used to involve hours of intense preparation for Adelaide mother, Catherine Raeburn, who was battling low self esteem and anxiety about her appearance.

Fixated with looking perfect, some days she struggled to even leave the house.

"With people's parties and stuff like that, if I just didn't feel like 100 per cent, I'd just sort of go, I'm not gonna  bother going," she told 10 News First.

It might sound like she's just being self-obsessed, but it's actually the opposite. She was completely insecure with herself, and lacked confidence.

Catherine Raeburn says the trial helped her gain confidence, and feel more relaxed. IMAGE: supplied

Flinders University research suggests up to 46 percent of young adults battle high levels of dysmorphic concern - when insecurities about their appearance dominate their life.

"It's where people become very preoccupied with imagined or minor flaws in their appearance," Flinders University researcher Shevaugn Johnson said.

"You're very judgmental of yourself, it's depressing," Johnson said.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental disorder characterised by a preoccupation with an imagined defect in physical appearance, or excessive concern for a slight physical abnormality.

Around two percent of the population are diagnosed with BDD and study worked with people who were at high risk of developing the disorder. 

A new trial developed by the university has allowed Raeburn to undergo psychological treatment from the comfort of home, and avoid the stress of accessing traditional therapy.

READ MORE: Body Image Woes Linked To Teenage Girls Dropping Out Of Sport

The results of the trial have been so significant, it's considered just as good as face-to-face therapy.

Participants complete a range of at-home exercises, designed to re-train the brain in how it views their appearance, and replace negative feelings with positive ones.

READ MORE: Why The Most Revolutionary Thing You Can Do In 2019 Is Love Your Body

For Raeburn, it's given her confidence she never thought she'd have.

"I was always wanting to put make-up on before I go out, but now I'm quite  happy to just go out and not  have to put make up on every time," she said.

"I was pleasantly surprised at how much dysmorphic concern decreased, there was actually a very large effect size," she said.

It's hoped the success of the trial could see the program rolled out more widely, especially to help connect those living in regional communities with access to professional help without the need to travel all the way to major cities.

Contact the author: tryan@networkten.com.au

Feature image: Getty