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Whenever I get questions about how people can stop "normal" body processes, I first want to make sure the concern is healthy. The fact is, if be shorter than "normal" or taller than "normal" waves a red flag to doctors, who may be concerned about a condition called body dysmorphic disorder.

There can be a problem when:

  • You are concerned about "defects" in your appearance that are not visible to others.
  • You are constantly comparing your appearance to others.
  • You have to check yourself every time you pass a mirror, or you spend a lot of time (for example, an hour a day) grooming yourself or putting on makeup.
  • You spend more than an hour a day thinking about how you would like to look different.
  • You need constant reassurance from others that you look OK.
  • There are things you don't do (dating, school, work) because of your concern about how you look.
  • You are often upset about the way you look.
  • You often feel you have to persevere, put up with your appearance, and it makes you depressed.
  • You have had plastic surgery, and once one body part is "fixed," you want to do another, or
  • You have had plastic surgery, and you are violently angry with the plastic surgeon.
  • Your issues with your appearance aren't causing anorexia and or bulimia.

Body dysmorphic disorders usually start shortly after puberty. 

Having a body dysmorphic disorder doesn't mean it's crazy to want to look different, or that you shouldn't avail yourself of medical means to improve your appearance. However, it won't be enough to change your appearance if you don't address the emotional issues, too. And plastic surgery is usually not the answer. Over 90 percent of people who have body dysmorphic disorders have conditions that are made worse by plastic surgery, not better. 

That's also true of do-it-yourself interventions to change your appearance. Eating a lot and building bulging muscles, for example, not only won't make you shorter, it will affect your appearance in other ways, so that you have something else to worry about. Taking hormone shots to close your bones so you don't grow taller can change your personality and cause skin problems and genital shrinkage. 

I can't make the judgment of whether you should pursue changes in your body, but I can tell you that whatever you decide:

  • It's going to be best to rely on the same primary care physician all the way through the process. Your doctor can help you avoid changes that backfire and make you look worse, and also steer you to counseling that can help you build realistic expectations for the results of any kind of hormone treatment or surgery.
  • Even if you are determined to get medical intervention to change your looks, don't turn down counseling. They aren't there to talk you out of what you want to do. They are there to make sure what you are doing is what you really want to do.
  • Avoid diet drinks sweetened with Nutrasweet (aspartame). That may sound like strange advice, but part of the reason people develop unpleasant images of their bodies has to do with the way the hypo−N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor (NMDAR) signal transduction system functions in the brain. Aspartame interferes with the signals in your brain that help you evaluate how you look.
  • Make sure you are getting the whole picture of how you look. See a cosmetologist or aesthetician about ways to make your defect look better without medical intervention. What you need could be makeup or a change in hairstyle or a different kind of clothing--a makeover. It's easier, faster, healthier , and less expensive to do a cosmetic makeover than it is to pursue any kind of medical treatment.

Answering the question, is there some kind of shot that can stop you growing? Yes, there is. However, only a doctor can give it to you safely. Share your concerns with your doctor, and be patient about how your doctor makes you prove what you really want.

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