Body dysmorphic disorder, first documented in 1886, was originally named “Dysmorphophobia”.
A recent study has shown about 1 -2 % of the population meet the criteria for Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Chronic low self-esteem is also characteristic and is found in a larger percentage with milder symptoms. BDD is sometimes misunderstood as a vanity-driven problem. But, it is actually quite the opposite. People with BDD do not believe themselves to be better looking than everyone else.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder Today :
Check these symptoms if you think it may apply to you :
- Preoccupation with physical appearance
- Examination of yourself in the mirror frequently
- Strong belief that you have an abnormal ugly feature
- Think that others note your appearance in a negative way
- Avoiding social situations
- Frequent cosmetic procedures
- Excessive grooming or exercise to improve the flaw
- Reluctance to appear in pictures
Locations of perceived flaws (most common) :
- Skin (73%)
- Hair (56%)
- Nose (37%)
- Weight (22%)
- Stomach (22%)
- Breasts / Chest (21%)
Help is available :
Treatment is available, and it is most likely to work if you are a willing and active participant in the therapy. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy may be a good place to start. Also, medications that are useful in treating depression may be beneficial. Since body dysmorphic disorder is a complex illness, treatment may be difficult at first, but gradually you will improve. You can learn more and gain insights by reading how others have coped with BDD. This year, a book called Shattered Image was published and has many 5 star reviews. Try to realize that this is a serious disorder, so seek help with a qualified therapist immediately.