Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Most of us have something about our body image that we don’t like or wish we could change. But, imagine worrying so much about a part of your body, like your face, legs, breasts, nose or skin tone – that you spend hours or days concerned about it?
This is called Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD, chomas. People who suffer from BDD are obsessed about their body image and can’t think of anything else and this can last for hours or the whole day. They may avoid people completely because they are scared that others can see these flaws and judge them. This may start to affect their relationships with their close friends or family members.
Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, is a mental condition where someone is obsessed with the ‘flaws’ on their bodies, like their face, legs, breasts or overall body shape. If you have BDD, you might feel that one of your body parts is too big, too small or out of proportion to the rest of the body. You would find it difficult to stop focusing on your ‘flaws’, believing that you have a defect or are deformed in some way and believe people can also notice this. You would also spend a lot of time comparing yourself to others and believe that others think you are ugly.
Symptoms of BDD
If you have BDD you may develop low self-esteem and have negative emotions like shame. This can lead to problems at school or work because you may start to miss class or not perform well at work. The thought of ‘being ugly’ takes over your life and going out in public might be difficult because you would start finding ways to hide your flaws, for example:
- Checking in the mirror/avoiding the mirror completely
- Exercising too much in order lose weight
- Wearing too much make-up
- Wear layers of clothes, even in summer
- Skin picking, which leaves marks on your body
What causes BDD?
BDD may be triggered by:
- Low self-esteem
- Parents or friends who were critical of your appearance
- A traumatic experience or emotional conflict while growing up
- The media, which always shows ‘perfect’ looking people
Is there treatment for people living with Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
If you think you may have BDD then talking to a doctor or a mental health professional, through therapy, is a great start. If it’s triggered by someone you live with, maybe ask them to stop talking about your body parts or your appearance because it hurts you and makes you feel negative emotions. If someone close to you has BDD, make sure your words are always supportive and positive.
Remember chomas, BDD is a real disorder and it’s about more than just wanting to fix your appearance. Someone with BDD truly believes that there is something wrong with them even though there isn’t and this constant struggle disturbs the person’s life and keeps them from actually feeling happy. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is nobody’s fault. The sooner you get help, if you are diagnosed with BDD, the sooner you can be on the road to recovery. It may be frustrating in the beginning but once you release yourself from these negative thoughts, you will realise your true worth – that you are beautiful just as you are.
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