bddIt is not uncommon to have something that you don’t like about your appearance. Our eyes are prone to focus on our “imperfections”, be it a birthmark, a crooked tooth, or maybe the shape of a nose. Although we may fret over these things, they typically don’t interfere with our daily lives.
There are people, however, that are greatly impacted by what is reflected in the mirror. These “flaws” take over their thoughts and dictate life choices. These people are classified as having Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a body-image disorder that affects all types of people. This disorder involves the persistent concern or preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in one’s appearance. These thoughts can lead to depression, anxiety, and severe emotional distress that can interfere with daily life, such as missing class, work, and avoiding social situations.

Characteristics of BDD
Those with BDD can dislike any part of their body. They often find a flaw in their hair, nose, skin, chest or stomach. A slight “imperfection” is extremely significant and prominent to a person with BDD.
People with BDD may deal with these thoughts in a drastic way that can lead to extreme and harmful behavior such as plastic surgery, eating disorders, and self-harm.

bdd2Symptoms of BDD
Individuals with BDD can develop obsessive tendencies about their appearance that can take hours out of their day. Other behaviors associated with BDD include:

• comparing appearance to others
• seeking surgery
• excessively checking mirrors
• avoiding mirrors
• skin picking
• excessive grooming/exercise

Treatment
-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one way BDD is treated. This involves teaching patients to recognize irrational thoughts and work towards changing negative thought patterns.
-Antidepressants are also commonly used in treated BDD. These are used to help relieve obsessive and compulsive symptoms of BDD.

To learn more about how BDD is tested and diagnosed, check out
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20029953

 

Written by Peer Educator Allie Fonseca

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