BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER (BDD)
What are the common signs and symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?
• Fixation and thoughts about appearance
• Mirror checking-Spending too much time staring in a mirror/shiny surface at the real or imagined flaw
• Avoidance of mirrors/shiny surfaces
• Their belief is very strong even if evidence does not support it
• Covering up the “afflicted area.” (e.g. hats, scarves, make-up)
• Repeatedly asking others to tell them that they look okay (also referred to as ‘reassurance seeking’).
• Frequent unnecessary appointments with medical professionals/surgeons
• Repeated unnecessary plastic surgery
• Compulsive skin picking. Often, nails and tweezers are used to remove blemishes/hair.
• Avoiding social situations, public places, work, school, etc...
• Leaving the house less often or only going out at night to prevent others from seeing the “flaw”.
• Keeping the obsessions and compulsions secret due to feelings of shame.
• Emotional problems, such as feelings of disgust, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc.
- The flaw or slight imperfection is often located on the head or face (e.g. hairline, nose, acne, neck, etc.), but any body part may be the focus. Some common areas include: arms, legs, stomach, hips, etc. Men are often concerned with their hairline or how muscular they are.
An equal number of men and women are diagnosed with BDD. BDD usually gets worse as the person ages, as they struggle with the physical changes that come with age (gray hair, loss of hair, wrinkles, weight gain, etc.).
The stress can lead to an unending search of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures, avoiding daily activities, avoiding job duties, avoiding social situations.
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Body Dysmorphic sufferers compulsively check a part of the body, often a feature of their face.