We all live in a judgmental society where our neighbourhood aunties tell us too eat more or eat less, maybe if we tried putting curd on our face as she told then well be fair or whiter or less brown to be precise, she always knows what’s best because she is older than all of us. All of these unwanted suggestions can lower our self-esteem when they point out your flaws you didn’t know existed. This just leads to us obsessing over our flaws. We all most of the times don’t like we see in the mirror but people who are suffering from body dysmorphic disorder obsess over their flaws on a specific body part which is usually exaggerated in their minds. This is body dysmorphia. Body dysmorphia or Body Dysmorphic Disorder [BDD] is a mental health disorder where you focus obsessively over your perceived flaws; the flaws might not be visible to others, this causes embarrassment, anxiety and leads to you being ashamed in public settings. Because the flaw is perceived its importance is exaggerated this leads to repetitive behaviour or people tend to avoid public settings or certain social engagements. It means repeatedly checking your appearance in the mirror, or seeking constant validation and repeated grooming oneself. Body Dysmorphic Disorder affects 0.7% to 2.4% of the population.
The disease was first reported in 1886 by Enrico Morselli, he named it Dysmorphophobia. It was first diagnosed as a somatoform but later reclassified as an obsessive-compulsive disorder. These people tend to indulge in behaviours which are directed towards fixing or masking their perceived flaw, they always compare their appearances with others, and they undergo cosmetic procedures with little to no satisfaction from the procedure. They also constantly think that others notice or make fun of their perceived flaw. Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be due to different factors, it develops during early adolescence, it might stem from social, cultural standards, psychological or trauma or abuse or bullying. It causes introversion and negative body image. Suicidal thoughts and depression are common in BDD. BDD also causes mood swings, depression, and the repetitive behaviour to mask their flaws causes’ obsessive-compulsive disorder to the patient, eating disorders to lose weight or to gain their perfect weight or to undergo multiple cosmetic surgeries.
BDD can be treated but most individuals tend to hide their obsessive disorders.
The conditions are hugely misdiagnosed because people are not open about it.
The common treatment for body dysmorphic disorder is Cognitive behavioural therapy is the most successful in treating BDD. Because BDD comes with an array of other disorders it’s a little difficult to treat but understandable. Cognitive-behavioural therapy provides a good mechanism where you can turn negative thoughts and irrational thoughts into positive thoughts. Responsive prevention in CBT teaches to resist the urge to mask their perceived flaw and how to seek validation from others and to grow confident. One of the ways to understand this disorder is that everyone is different and it’s no one’s business to tell others how to look or eat. Every person is beautiful in one or the other way and that not everyone is conventionally beautiful. So, be confident and find a niche for yourself.