Are you constantly worried about your physical appearance? Do you perennially seem to find flaws with your body and are not happy with what you see in the mirror?
While being obsessed with how you look may seem a minor issue, it can slowly destabilize your normal everyday life. This can lead to a host of serious uncertainties, more than just not liking your mirror image. A case in point could be a serious condition known as body dysmorphic disorder. Read on to know all about it.
What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?
While it may sound something you can easily shrug off, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is actually quite a serious medical condition (1). If you are suffering from this condition, you will be constantly preoccupied with your physical flaws, imaginary or real. You will find most of these flaws in your skin, your hair or your nose. If you happen to suffer from BDD, you are more likely to want to go for a cosmetic surgery. Even though you do go ahead with a cosmetic surgery, you will most likely not be happy with the results.
What Are The Symptoms Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?
If you are suffering from BDD, you will almost always find flaws with your look. This will mostly be around your skin, hair and prominent facial features. You may be worried about your real or imaginary thinning hair, shape of the nose that seems large or crooked or bent, excessive body hair, fine lines and wrinkles, scarring, acne, pigmentation and other such physical issues.
These real or imaginary issues will cause you immense amount of stress and anxiety. As you start getting more occupied with these so-called flaws, you will end up spending more time focusing on these. You may be frequently checking your appearance in a mirror or pick at your skin. You will mostly try and hide these imperfections using different methods. You will feel a constant need to compare your looks with those of others, and almost always find fault with your own looks. You will also want to stay overly groomed and made up at all times and seek constant assurance from others that you are looking good.
You would want to go ahead for a cosmetic surgery to fix your looks. You will start avoiding social scenarios where you are expected to meet other people. You will be worried that people will immediately notice your flaws and focus on them. In extreme cases, BDD can also lead to suicidal tendencies, when the victim is not able to bear the stress and trauma of constant devaluation.
How To Treat Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?
How a specific case of BDD is treated depends on various factors like how severe is the case and how receptive you are to treatment (2).
One of the most common methods of treating BDD is using medication. Anti-depressants like serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help reduce the obsessive and compulsive behavior disorders. In alternate therapy, a therapist will work closely with you to understand your thought process. The therapist may ask you to visit people and attend social gatherings without trying to hide your apparent defect.
Your therapist will work with you to make you feel comfortable the way you are. Your therapist will also help you to stop checking on yourself all the time. This may involve steps like removing mirrors and banning the use of it, asking you to stay away from makeup for some time and the likes. Your therapist will also counsel you to form a positive image of yourself and help you learn your body.
Getting a cosmetic surgery is not a viable option, as you may not like the result. This will only further increase your BDD tendencies. The best way to work around BDD is to start loving yourself for what you are. Be proud of your accomplishments and thankful to the love and support of your family. If you do not like the way you look, ask someone, preferably your partner, to tell you about some of your most amazing qualities.
Trust your loved ones and know that they love you just the way you are. Do not hesitate to get in touch with your doctor or therapist if the symptoms still persist.
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