All you need to know about body dysmorphic disorder.

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Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? I think the evil queen had body dysmorphic disorder.

What is it?
This is the disorder where someone has perceived idea that they look ugly, unattractive or deformed and no one else around them sees that.

Signs that a person has body dysmorphic disorder.

  • Worries of perceived defects; people with body dysmorphic disorder believe they look ugly or unattractive abnormal or deformed. The individual observations may look very slight on completely unnoticed by other people. These concerns range from looking unattractive/ not right to ugly to hideous or monster. Preoccupations can focus on one or many body areas like skin; stuff like acne, paleness or scars can make this individual very concerned. Facial hair (excessive or lack of thereof ) and body organs like nose (size and shape).

Quick question; do you have that body part that makes you lose confidence to the point of actually hating it.

  • Excessive comparing themselves with other people-; in response to this worries to being imperfect and low self-esteem, one may end up comparing themselves to others in terms of appearances. “am I uglier than”. Is my nose bogger than hers. “do I look fat in these jeans? how fat? Father than Mellissa?

  • Excessive grooming; this involves styling, combing(always), shaving, plucking, or pulling hair due to the desire to always look perfect.

  • Camouflaging; This is the covering areas with defects with makeup or hats, clothing to cover disliked areas. Some individuals are excessively tan to look less pale. This is always accompanied by compulsive shopping of beauty products. Some individuals excessively tan to darken “pale” skin or diminish perceived acne.

  • Compulsive skin picking ( pimples and whiteheads); intended to improve perceived skin defects. This is common and can cause skin damage, infections and ruptured blood vessels.

  • Repeated checking for flaws or defects on mirrors and other reflecting surfaces and examining them directly. One might even pause where they are going to check their jaws on a reflecting window

  • Social anxiety, low self-esteem, depressed mood, perfectionism; people with body dysmorphic disorder have delusions that people will take special notice on them and mock them because of how they look. Since they are ashamed of how they look, they are reluctant to share their concerns with others. Some may try cosmetic improvements and surgeries to improve how they look

  • Bias for negative/threatening interpretations- this is because it has been associated with executive dysfunction and visual process abnormalities. Every look or act they get from other people may lead to them overthinking that it concerns with how they look.

Muscle dysmorphia; this is a form of body dysmorphic disorder occurring almost exclusively in males, consists of the preoccupation that one’s body is too small or insufficiently lean or muscular. Individuals with this form of the disorder have a normal looking body or even muscular. They may also be occupied with other body areas like skin and hair. Majority of their diet or even exercise excessively and this often leads to body damage.

Some reach a point of using potentially dangerous anabolic-androgenic steroids and other substances to try to make their body bigger and more muscular.

Body dysmorphic disorder by proxy is a body dysmorphic disorder in which individuals are worried about defects they perceive in another personal appearance.

What makes someone to have body dysmorphic disorder?

Environmental factor; body dysmorphic disorder has been linked with high rates or childhood neglect and abuse. Parents and guardians are the first teachers of the child. They are also the first people the child completely trusts and believes. The scars or pain they cause to the child can last for ages.

Throwing reckless comments like “ look at big fat nose” “distorted jaws” “you are fat/ugly”. These comments last in a child lifeway longer after the parents has even forgotten that they mentioned them.

Genetic and physiological- if you have a relative especially first degree like father or mother who had obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD); the body dysmorphic disorder can be elevated.

Although body dysmorphic disorders are similar clinical features in body dysmorphic disorder; males are likely to have genital worries and muscle dimorphic while women have a comorbid eating disorder.

Another diagnosis with similar signs that can easily be mixed up with body dysmorphic disorder are;

Normal appearance concerns; the difference between the normal appearance concerns and body dysmorphic disorder; firstly for normal appearance cancers the defects are visible not just slightly and not only to the individual also other people
Also, body dysmorphic disorder is being characterized by excessive appearance-related preoccupations that are time-consuming and cause distress or impairment function.

Eating disorder; Fears of becoming fat are considered symptoms of an eating disorder rather than body dysmorphic disorder. However weight concerns are set, symptoms of both and in that case, both can be diagnosed.

Illness anxiety disorder; people with body dysmorphic disorder are not worried about having a serious illness and do not have elevated levels of somatization

Psychotic disorders; the majority of people with body dysmorphic disorder have delusional appearance beliefs. appearance-related ideas or delusions are common in body dysmorphic disorder. Although delusions even appearance delusion is a psychotic symptom, a person is diagnosed with body dimorphic disorder because other psychotic disorder symptoms are absent.

Anxiety disorders; social anxiety and avoidance are common in body dysmorphic disorder. however unlike social phobia, agoraphobia and personality avoidant disorder, body dysmorphic disorder focuses worry on perceived appearance flaws.

Major depressive disorder; major depressive disorder and depressive symptoms are common in individuals with body dysmorphic disorder. body dysmorphic disorder should be diagnosed in in depressed people only if the criteria for body dimorphic disorder are met.

Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders; the worries of obsessive-compulsive disorder differ from those of body dysmorphic disorder because the latter focuses only on appearance. when skin picking is intended to improve the appearance of perceived skin defects body dysmorphic disorder is diagnosed and not skin picking disorder. When hair plucking is intended to improve perceived defects in the appearance of facial or body hair body dysmorphic disorder is diagnosed instead of trichotillomania(hair-pulling disorder).

Shubo-you is the Japanese diagnostic systems similar to body dysmorphic disorder meaning “ the phobia of a deformed body”.Body dysmorphic disorder is international and it appears all races and cultures have more similarities than differences.

What are the consequences of body dysmorphic disorder?

Poor functioning on the quality of life; people experience in their job (missing work), academic(missing school), or role function (as apparent or guardian). About 20% of youth with body dysmorphic disorder are dropping out of school.

Housebound; to avoid social activities and functions people be I housebound 9staying indoors0 even for years in severe cases avoiding all kinds of relationships and intimacies.

Suicide risk; rates of suicidal attempts are high in both adults and adolescents with body dimorphic disorder

On severe cases, individuals may perform cosmetic treatments or surgeries on themselves dermatological are most common though others like ental may be performed. the bad thing is body dysmorphic disorder responds poorly to such treatments and often make stuff worse. Individuals may take legal or violent action to the clinician because they are dissatisfied with the outcome.

Piece of advice, no one is perfect it's what makes us humans and not gods. The cover girls/ men and social media girls/ gents shouldn't pressure to be that way; because believe me even they don't look like that. Live a healthy life and enjoy it. It's the best we can do for our bodies and mind.

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