Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a mental disorder where one is unable to stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance, flaws that, to others, is either minor or not observable. But the individual may feel so ashamed or anxious that he/she avoid social situations.
When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, repeatedly checking the mirror, grooming or seeking reassurance, sometimes for many hours each day. Your perceived flaw and the repetitive behaviors cause you significant distress, and impact your ability to function in your daily life.
You may seek out numerous cosmetic procedures to try to “fix” your perceived flaw. Afterward, you may feel a temporary satisfaction, but often the anxiety returns and you may resume searching for a way to fix your perceived flaw.
Treatment of body dysmorphic disorder may include cognitive behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy.
Most individuals have something in their appearance that they do not like, a large or crooked nose, ear that stick out, large hips, etc… The anxiety provoked by our perceived imperfections, interfere with our daily living activities.
The individual who suffers from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) think about their real or perceived flaws most of their day. They are unable to control their negative thoughts and believe the imperfections they see in themselves are the only thing others see in them.
These beliefs cause emotional distress to the point of interfering with their everyday ability to function throughout their day. They fear of others noticing their flaws real or perceived will make them miss work or school, avoiding being social and isolating themselves, from family and friends.
Due to this illness they may subject themselves to unnecessary plastic surgeries to correct the imperfections they see in themselves, without satisfaction with the results.
CHARACTERISTICS OF BDD
BDD is a body-image disorder that is a constant and disruptive preoccupation with an perceived, insignificant or nonexistent defect in one’s appearance, that causes severe emotional distress and difficulties in daily living activities.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder mostly develops in adolescent and teen years. Research shows that it affects males and females equally.
Approximately 1% of the U.S. population has Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
The cause of BDD is unknown; however, some biological or environmental factors could be the culprit, like unbalance of serotonin in the brain, or personality traits.
People with BDD obsess about their appearance, sometimes for hours or an entire day. People with BDD are unable to focus on anything but their imaginary imperfections, they experience low self-esteem, avoid any type of social situations, even work or school. People with severe BDD avoid leaving their homes.
BDD AND OTHER MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS
Some people with BDD suffer from anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, or eating disorder. All these symptoms are associated with BDD as well, that is why this illness is misdiagnosed so often.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
In order to obtain a precise diagnosis and proper treatment, the individual must explain in detail their symptomatology when they visit a psychiatrist.
If a child is overly concerned about their looks to the point that it interferes with their school work, they should be evaluated by a psychiatrist. As with any illness, the sooner it is diagnosed and treated the better chances of being able to overcome it.
Treatments available to help individuals suffering with BDD are:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is where the patient learns to identify illogical thinking and change their thinking patterns.
Antidepressants can help relieve the obsessive/compulsive symptoms of BDD.
Each patient treatment is different, that is why the patient has to provide the doctor with an explicit explanation of their symptoms, in order to accurately diagnose and treat their condition.