Body Dysmorphia [Everything you should know]

Body Dysmorphia Everything you should know

Body dysmorphia is a mental illness that causes people to think their body looks ugly or deformed, even when it doesn’t. It’s not just about being self-conscious about your appearance, it’s much more complicated than that. People who have this disorder will often obsessively check themselves out in the mirror for hours on end and may pick at their skin repeatedly to try and “fix” any perceived flaws they see. Some sufferers can also experience depression, anxiety, low self esteem or social isolation as well if left untreated. This article explores what you need to know about body dysmorphia so you can recognize the signs of this condition in yourself or someone else!

Body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, is a mental illness where a person is obsessed with the perception that some aspect of their body- whether minor or severe- can be classified as part of a clinical disorder.

The word “dysmorphophobia” means hatred or fear of deformity, and it is related to the words “deform,” “defect,” and “defective.”   It’s sometimes called body image disorder. People who have this condition may spend hours each day thinking about their looks, comparing themselves to others, seeking reassurance from others that they are not ugly, or even going through surgical procedures just to achieve a more idealized look.   In some cases people might obsess over an imagined flaw in order to avoid acknowledging other problems such as depression or anxiety.

BDD doesn’t usually include symptoms such as body image distortion and denial about the severity of symptoms. For example, an individual may be convinced they have hair where there actually isn’t any hair. In contrast, someone with trichotillomania may have periodic urges to pull out their own hair from time to time but not otherwise believe they have hair on what might be bald spots that are completely bare of any makings of a follicle.

 

The patient has significant emotional distress due to these preoccupations or obsessions. Body dysmorphic disorder is often associated with depression, social isolation and suicidal thoughts/attempts.

How do you know if you have body dysmorphia?

People usually have body dysphoria, aka body dysmorphia when they are unable to recognize their own reflection in the mirror. Usually people with this problem see an image that is distorted or twisted. Doctors say it’s a result of mental illness and sometimes there’s no cause for the distortion in the brain, which can lead to self-harming behaviors.

The symptoms of body dysmorphia include:

– Refusing to take photographs

– Feeling self-conscious in public and private places

– Avoiding social situations where you might be exposed

– Wearing baggy or loose fitting clothes

– Frequent checking of mirrors and other reflective surfaces to make sure the body looks okay (also known as mirror checking)

– Frequent comparing of your body with other people’s bodies, especially those who are very attractive

– Excessive exercising or avoiding exercise altogether

– Frequently hiding some part of your body with clothing, even in hot weather etc.

Body dysmorphia symptoms

  • So much concern about a certain aspect of your body (particularly your face) that it interferes with your daily life.
  • Spend a lot of time comparing yourself to others’ appearances.
  • Consider how you’ve reflected on yourself lately, or whether you avoid mirrors.
  • Make-up and clothing, for example, may be used to conceal flaws.

Body dysmorphic disorder causes

If you are suffering from body dysmorphic disorder, your perception of what you look like is distorted to the point that it affects how you live day-to-day. You may become distressed or severely unhappy with one or more parts of your appearance and this causes emotional distress in many cases. The most common manifestation of BDD is an excessive preoccupation with a real or imagined physical flaw in your appearance. Some people may obsess over their hair, skin and weight while others could become fixated on the shape of their nose, jawline or stomach area.

##Is BDD an anxiety disorder?

Body dysmorphia is never formally diagnosed as an anxiety disorder, but it’s closely related to some common types of anxiety. It also shares characteristics with other disorders like social phobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

***

##Who suffers from body dysmorphic disorder?

Those who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder often have an unrealistic view of their physical appearance. They may be preoccupied with the way they look or feel, and this can lead to depression or social anxiety. The mental illness usually begins during adolescence but it is possible for children as young as seven years old to develop symptoms. People suffering from body dysmorphic disorder spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about their appearance and they may be obsessed with one or more perceived flaws.

Conclusion: Body dysmorphia is a mental illness that can have devastating effects on people’s lives. It’s not just about being self-conscious about your appearance, it’s much more complicated than that. People who have this disorder will often obsessively check themselves out in the mirror for hours on end and may pick at their skin repeatedly to try and “fix” any perceived flaws they see. Some sufferers can also experience depression, anxiety, low self esteem or social isolation as well if left untreated. The good news is there are treatments available – contact our doctors today for help!