Body Dysmorphia Disorder
We live in a world that is obsessed with the way we look but what happens when the way we think we look takes over our life? Let’s talk about BDD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder. What is it? How do we know we have it, and what do we do about it?
Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD is a mental disorder in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived effects or flaws in your own appearance. A flaw that to others they may never know is there. Not noticeable at all!
But to someone with BDD it could be so extreme and obvious that they feel ashamed and anxious and avoid social situations because of it. BDD share some of the features with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders but not the same. It’s not an eating disorder. And this is where we make the distinction. BDD is similar to eating disorders in that both involve a concern with body image.
However a person with an eating disorder worries about weight and the shape of the entire body while a person with BDD is concerned about a specific body part or a specific flaw. Acne, scars, hair, veins or vascularity, redness or cellulite on the body, can be some areas of fixated for someone with BDD. Say someone is fixated on the look of their hair or skin. They might spend hours in the mirror obsessing over a scar or blemish. Maybe they are even late to work because of how long they are spending focusing on that area putting makeup on it making it just right.
This can be problematic because it can greatly impact your life as you compare yourself to others hide or undergo risky surgeries or treatments that change the way you look.
So what do we do about it? What do we do if we have BDD?
If any of this sounds familiar, talk with a supportive family member or friend. Speak with your doctor about your concerns and seek out help from your therapist and dietitian It might feel like these things will never change but we can shift this and we can make peace with our body and our appearance.