Body dysmorphic disorder is a widespread condition in which a person is so fixated on appearance that they are always looking for flaws. Such people frequently examine themselves in the mirror to determine where and how the fault makes them appear. Many affected individuals may not be aware of the disease since they may believe that being in front of the mirror is just something they enjoy doing. People with this disease frequently choose cosmetic surgery to address their perceived imperfections. Remarkably, some individuals with this pattern may want to avoid mirrors at all costs to avoid noticing the problematic faults.
Other common behaviors in afflicted people include over-grooming, repeatedly asking others about the appearance of the imperfection, avoiding social settings with lots of people, and being uneasy around people out of fear that they would see the flaw. According to research, BDD most frequently manifests in adolescence and teens and affects both men and women almost equally. BDD affects 2.5% of males and 2.2% of females in the United States. BDD frequently manifests in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 13. (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Some eating disorders that involve concerns about one’s body image, including body dysmorphic disorder, can be related to it. Facial characteristics, hair, and skin flaws are frequently causing a crisis in this disease. Body dysmorphic disorder is a typical yet underrecognized illness. It often goes undiagnosed and untreated because it is mistaken for other conditions. It can be challenging for sufferers to recognize that they are suffering from a disorder since they frequently disregard it, making the disorder’s symptoms deteriorate over time.
Those with immediate family members with depression or anxiety are more at risk. Psychological causes would include traumatic or emotional imbalance experiences, mainly if they happened during childhood. People with low self-esteem are equally susceptible to the disorder, with peers being able to impact anxiety, as some teenagers may groom themselves to make their peers feel less attractive. The brain is more involved in the disorder’s development, and persons with body dysmorphic disease generally do poorly, particularly when controlling their bodies’ reactions to neurons. Patients with the said disorder also struggle significantly with remembering verbal and nonverbal information. This is caused by faulty memory organization, which prevents the frontal-striatal circuits from mediating the brain’s executive function. The hippocampus, which is naturally involved in memory formation, motivation, and emotion development, is consequently implicated since adequate brain integration alone has not removed the memory dysfunctions. The amygdala, a brain region whose excessive activity leads to attentional blunders that result in social anxiety, is another component of BDD.
A person with a severe illness may engage in atypical activities like avoiding people and going so far as to lock themselves in a room while preventing family members. Avoiding social meetings may also result in isolation from other members of society. Some people may even come to despise themselves for committing suicide. Overall, the symptoms of body dysmorphia disorder cause “clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning” (Phillips 15). Many people with body dysmorphic disorder experience depression to the point where they seek professional assistance. Frustration frequently develops when surgery alters a person’s physical appearance because most people do not receive the desired results. Other issues this disorder brings include a lack of friends and other relationships, substance misuse, and eating disorders when a person tries to maintain a specific body type.
The psychological effects of body dysmorphic disorder are the most noticeable, causing the affected individual to become depressed and perhaps experience other conditions linked to depression, including eating disorders. When confined in the house, these individuals frequently eat a lot, especially junk food, as it helps them forget about their dysfunctional body parts. These dietary habits could ultimately lead to additional health issues. Another highly prevalent symptom of the illness is anxiety, which can result in uneasy or panicky behaviors. A person with body dysmorphic disorder is more prone to experience an emotional breakdown, possibly due to low self-esteem, which leads to an inferiority complex.
The social life of the person who has this illness is also impacted. For instance, many people avoid social events and are constantly uncomfortable. Since they believe they do not belong and cannot be accepted by a particular group or classmates, some people may even lack friends. The best available data support the two potential treatment approaches, administered separately or simultaneously. According to Jassi, one form of treatment is psychological, more specifically, cognitive behavior therapy, while the second choice is medication, which has a variety of possibilities (52). When a person with the condition is reluctant to report to work because they do not want to be seen with the disordered appearance, professional functioning may also be impacted. Mainly when guests are present at the workplace, some persons may even make up an explanation for being unable to report for duty.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a significant condition that needs to be treated right away if it is discovered to avoid the risks stated above. Body dysmorphic disorder is a severe, long-lasting illness that significantly damages the person. Many become homebound, suicidal, and hospitalized due to the inability to attend school or work. Most patients are private and rarely discuss their symptoms until requested. Instead of being preoccupied with their appearance, they are more likely to talk about social anxiety or sadness. Most often, an intensive mix of all therapy techniques over several lengthy sessions is most successful.
Roehr, Bob. “American psychiatric association explains DSM-5.” BMJ 346 (2013).
Jassi, Amita. “Appearance Anxiety: A Guide to Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder for Young People, Families and Professionals.” Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2019).
Phillips, Katharine A. “Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder: An Essential Guide.” Oxford Press. (2009).
Films for the Humanities & Sciences (Firm), et al., directors. Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Films Media Group, 2006.