Always conscious over appearance? You may have Body Dysmorphic Disorder
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Always conscious over appearance? You may have Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition

Always conscious over appearance? You may have Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Are you always conscious of your body and finding faults with your appearance? Is this a leading disturbance in your daily life and hinder your school or office work? You may be suffering from Body Dysmorphic.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition.

According to Cleveland based American Academic Medical Centre, an individual with body dysmorphic disorder is conscious about their appearance and find defects in their body. They are generally anxious about their body defects which are very minor or one which other people cannot see. This condition can affect a sufferer's work, school, home and social life. It is a mental health condition that is a chronic disease.

Body dysmorphic disorder can occur to anyone. It tends to begin during the teen years or early adulthood because it is the age when children start comparing themselves to others. If the condition is left untreated it can lead to more complications as they age. They will feel more mental stress due to physical changes such as grey hair, loose skin, increasing body weight, wrinkles and many more.

According to the American Academic Centre, Cleveland many people with Body Dysmorphic disorders can also have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder. An OCD sufferer has upsetting thoughts that can not be controlled. This further results in the compulsion of doing some activity or following a particular routine.

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Similarly, a person with body dysmorphic disorder can be so conscious of their defect that they start doing ritualistic activities. For example, they might look themself in the mirror or can not go out without feeling insecure. This condition can affect their social, work and home life.

Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
People with body dysmorphic disorder can have inaccurate views about their bodies which can withdraw them from social gatherings. Some of the warning signs that a person may have body dysmorphic disorder include the following:

  • Always trying to hide or engaging in repetitive behaviours like checking themselves in the mirror, again and again, trying to hide their insecurities and picking at skin or hair.
  • Constantly asking for reassurance that the defect is not visible or too obvious.
  • Ignoring social gatherings or feeling anxious whenever in front of people.
  • Repeatedly consulting medical professionals, like plastic surgeons and dermatologists to hide their defects.
  • Sufferers can also experience difficulty in managing their focus on work and relationships as they can not stop focusing on their defects.

The most common areas of the body part which make people with body dysmorphic disorder, as per according to the American Academic Centre, conscious are shared below:

  • Stomach or chest
  • Skin includes wrinkles, scars, acne and blemishes.
  • Hair
  • Facial features, most often including the nose.
  • Body odour
  • Breast
  • Penis size
  • Thighs
  • Buttocks
  • Head baldness

Causes of BDD
The exact cause of body dysmorphic disorder is not yet found. Cleveland Clinic says people with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety have more chances of developing Dysmorphic disorder. Some of the other factors may include the following written reasons:

  • Traumatic events or emotional conflict during childhood
  • A sufferer may be surrounded by people who are critical about their appearance
  • Low self-confidence

How to deal with BDD

Psychologist Shipra Lamba explains, “Trying to counter the thoughts of a person with BDD with some compliments may not be helpful because this only encourages their reassurance and validation seeking behaviour. This also demeans what they feel and are going through.”
Statements such as "We can talk if you would like to or how can I help you, reassurances such as It must be very difficult for you”, “You are not alone”, “I am here for you.”  Such statements can help a person feel comfortable to open up about their preoccupation with the minor or imagined imperfections of their body.

Empathic listening, doing something fun together to distract them from negative thoughts but being aware of the triggers at the same time can help a lot.

Another possible help can be reaching out for professional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Treatment and Diagnosis
Experts explain the condition can go on for years without a diagnosis because the patient does not open up about their feelings easily. As the sufferer stays secretive about their insecurities and defects, people around them also are not able to know about the condition. That is why it becomes difficult to diagnose such conditions.

Psychologist Lamba says that a timely diagnosis and treatment including counselling and medications can help to resolve the underlying causes. This can help control the symptoms, making this peculiar thought process more controlled and manageable.

Apart from this, therapies such as Cognitive behavioural therapy can help a person recognize, understand and replace irrational beliefs about their appearance. Being aware of the triggers helps. Calculated and monitored exposure to uncomfortable conditions can do wonders as it may help the person open up to new perceptions and break barriers.