Body Dysmorphic Disorder
By Vishnuka Sivapoologasundaram
What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
Signs and Symptoms:
- Excessive behaviors; skin picking, hair plucking, excessive exercising , dieting (crash diets)
- Avoidance of social situations.
- Strongly believes that they have an abnormality or defect in their appearance that makes them unattractive or undesirable.
- Frequent examination of themselves in the mirror , or avoids the mirror completely.
- Is always preoccupied with their physical appearance.
- Always compares themselves to other people.
- Needs reassurance about their appearance by others
- Low self esteem and confidence
What causes BDD?
BDD can also be developed because of the environment that you live in. If you live in a society where appearance is always criticized and made a big deal, one can develop body image issues. Teasing at school or by family members about their appearance can also harm ones self confidence. But these things do not majorly contribute to BDD since many are criticized about their appearance on a daily basis but it is only a few that are very sensitive to it.
It is not exactly clear on why and how BDD forms as the people suffering from it are not willing to talk about their problems openly.
Who is affected ?
How does BDD impact someones life?
Ones suffering from Body Dysmorphia tend to keep their struggles to themselves as they are ashamed of what they are going through and are afraid of being considered superficial or vain. Sufferers of BDD avoid social situations and become homebound ad they are afraid of getting negative attention due to their appearance "flaws". Many are known to be single or divorced as they are unable to form and maintain close relationships. This is due to the fact that many do not understand what BDD is or what the person is going through. As a result those suffering from this feel misunderstood , judged or alone. Partners and family also finds it very distressing when they are unable to help their loved one to love themselves and stop feeling "ugly". Most even consult with dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons so that they could help fix their "defect" and this becomes an unhealthy solution as they will never be satisfied with the work that is done.
Those who stay inside from being seen start developing social anxiety as well as depression and those with severe BDD might even think about or attempt suicide.
How common is BDD?
Getting help & treatments!
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps train you to change the way you think about each situation and helps you improve your reaction and actions to certain situations. CBT is usually preformed by a trained personal such as a psychologist, therapist or a social worker.
The Medication would be Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (a.k.a SSRI). SSRI is an antidepressant that is mainly used with patients that have depression or compulsive disorders. SSRI helps improve the balance of chemicals in the brain and it mainly targets the serotonin levels. Medication would be the best treatment for anyone suffering with chemical imbalance or any with family history of depression or OCD.
For better results taking therapy and medication would improve the chances of the sufferer getting better.
Credit Valley Hospital has a Mental Health Unit that helps people of all ages but mostly teens and children. If referred by your family physician you can get an appointment with a psychiatrist who will help diagnose you and tell you about the treatments available and what they suggest to you. The waitlist however is about 2 months.
After being diagnosed you may referred to a social worker, psychologist or a therapist to start your treatment which would be CBT for people with BDD. You and the therapist will work one on one to help improve your lifestyles and issues for you to have a full recovery.
Body dysmorphic disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20029953
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder-bdd
About BDD. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from http://bddfoundation.org/helping-you/about-bdd/
The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Program at Rhode Island Hospital. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from http://www.rhodeislandhospital.org/preoccupations-and-behaviors.html