Body dysmorphic disorder

Does your daughter think her skin looks bad? Does she think she’s too fat? Does she think her hair is ugly? Does she think her nose is too big? Does she think that she’s ugly in general? Are her preoccupation with her looks affecting her life in a negative way? If you have been hearing her complain about such things then there is a big chance that she is suffering from a mental disorder called BDD or Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

People with BDD have an extremely distorted view of their physical appearance despite the fact that there are no actual or noticeable physical defects present. Sufferers believe that they are so unspeakably hideous that they are unable to interact with others or function normally for fear of ridicule and humiliation at their appearance.

Although the exact cause of the disorder is still unknown, BDD usually develops in adolescence, a time when people are generally most sensitive about their appearance. Sufferers believe that they are so unspeakably hideous that they are unable to interact with others or function normally for fear of ridicule and humiliation at their appearance.

  • Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder are:
  • Compulsive mirror checking, glancing in reflective doors, windows and other reflective surfaces.
  • Alternatively, an inability to look at one’s own reflection or photographs of oneself; often the removal of mirrors from the home.
  • Compulsive skin-touching, especially to measure or feel the perceived defect.
  • Reassurance-seeking from loved ones.
  • Social withdrawal and co-morbid depression.
  • Obsessive viewing of favorite celebrities or models the person suffering from BDD may wish to resemble.
  • Excessive grooming behaviors: combing hair, plucking eyebrows, shaving, etc.
  • Obsession with plastic surgery or multiple plastic surgeries with little satisfactory results for the patient.
  • In obscure cases patients have performed plastic surgery on themselves, including liposuction and various implants with disastrous results.

The most common treatments for BDD are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a form of therapy that is based on modifying cognitions, assumptions, beliefs and behaviors. Drugs have also been used to treat some cases of DBB, although the results are not yet conclusive. Because of the relatively mysterious causes of BDD, in most patients, the symptoms and concerns diversify and social contacts may further deteriorate. As so, treatment should be initiated as early as possible.

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