Body dysmorphic disorder, also known as BDD, is a mental disorder in which the person can not stop thinking about one or more perceived defects in their appearance. They may also feel like they have a defect that for others is less noticeable. They may feel so embarrassed or worried about themselves that they tend to avoid many social situations.
Being diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder, one can become intensely obsessed with their appearance and body image. One can be constantly looking at themselves in the mirror, cleaning themselves or looking for safety, sometimes for many hours a day. The perceived defect and the repetitive behaviors cause great anguish and impact on their ability to function in daily life.
Some patients may try many aesthetic procedures to try to “fix” the perceived defect. After this, they may feel a temporary satisfaction, but the anxiety usually returns. Thus, they may come back to find a way to fix the perceived defect.
Treatment for body dysmorphic disorder may include cognitive behavioral therapy and medications.
Here are a few signs and symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder:
- To worry excessively about a perceived defect in the appearance that others do not see or see as something less
- Believe solidly that you have a defect in your appearance that makes you unpleasant or deformed
- Believe that others pay special attention to your appearance in a negative way or make fun of you
- Engaging in behaviors that seek to correct or hide the perceived defect that is difficult to resist or control, such as looking in the mirror, grooming or tearing the skin frequently
- Try to hide the perceived defects through hairstyle, makeup or clothing
- Constantly compare your appearance with that of others
- Always seek security about your appearance in others
- Have perfectionist tendencies
- Procure aesthetic procedures frequently without being satisfied
- Avoid social situations
- Being so concerned about the appearance that causes you anguish or major problems in your social life, school or other areas of operation
People with BDD can dislike any part of their body like their hair, skin, nose, chest, or stomach, for example. In reality, the perceived defect may be only a slight imperfection that other people don’t particularly notice. Unfortunately for someone with BDD, the flaw is so prominent that it often causes severe emotional pain that can interfere with their daily life. The “flaws” are more in their minds than their bodies.
With social media on the rise, it is easy to start comparing and judging yourself in comparison to others. If you think this way at all, please talk to your doctor.