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Body Dysmorphic Disorder. For a world obsessed with appearances.

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Body Dysmorphic Disorder. For a world obsessed with appearances.
January 01
10:49 2017

Article Highlights

  • Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a debilitating condition that is estimated to affect approximately 1% of the population
  • BDD has been reclassified from a somatoform disorder to a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • BDD is characterized by repetitive behaviors or mental acts that manifest as excessive preoccupations with perceived flaws in appearance

“27, it is not surprising that body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, has manifested itself as a troubling and relatively common problem for many individuals”. (Katharine Philips, M.D; PhD).

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a debilitating condition that is estimated to affect approximately 1% of the population. However, since sufferers rarely seek out mental health services, and BDD often goes misdiagnosed, the incidence rates of BDD may be much higher than what current estimates are reporting. Moreover due to the extreme secrecy surrounding BDD combined with a paucity of research on this disorder, BDD remains poorly understood. Reflecting newer, more recent understanding of this disorder, BDD has been reclassified from a somatoform disorder to a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in the release of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

BDD is characterized by repetitive behaviors or mental acts that manifest as excessive preoccupations with perceived flaws in appearance. Common behaviors include mirror checking, camouflaging to conceal the perceived flaw, mirror avoidance, and excessive grooming. The most common areas of concern include preoccupation with the nose, skin, hair, and shape of the head, however, some patients may also focus on areas of the body. For example, muscle dysmorphia is a specifier of BDD that presents as a preoccupation with body size and muscle mass.

BDD is an important area of investigation not only due to its potentially high incidence rates, but also because of the detrimental impact it has on the patient’s life.

Having this disorder often results in severe impairments to social and occupational function, as many patients become house bound and avoid social situations. Furthermore, sufferers of BDD will often seek out cosmetic or dermatological procedures to correct perceived flaws. A complicating issue is that patients are rarely satisfied with surgical ‘results’ or if satisfied will redirect their bodily concerned focus to a new area of the body and subsequently seek out further procedures. Consequently, emotional and financial stress results and symptoms are often exacerbated. In addition, sufferers of BDD who do not have the financial resources for cosmetic procedures have been reported to attempt “self-surgeries” to correct their perceived flaw. In some instances, this has resulted in severe trauma and mutilation to the face and body. Furthermore, patients with BDD have high comorbidity rates with depression, social phobia, and suicide.

Several variables have been examined in relationship to BDD. The striving for perfection, concern with perceived imperfections and a focus on perfection in appearance have caused some researchers to seek relationships among BDD, traits such as perfectionism or narcissism, as well as with experiences of being bullied. Although research is limited, some studies suggest that high levels of perfectionism, covert narcissism, and self-reports of appearance-related bullying may predict BDD symptomology.

BDD remains a highly under-researched and misunderstood condition. When the causes of a disorder are not well understood, it becomes increasingly difficult to devise optimal treatment plans. Although incidence rates are high, the general population remains largely ignorant of the condition. Research and awareness is key to understanding etiology and developing effective interventions for the alleviation of BDD symptomology.


Deep Body Media Corp.

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Shevaugn Johnson

Shevaugn Johnson

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4 Comments

  1. Kat Donalds
    Kat Donalds August 22, 22:53

    I feel so sorry for all these people thinking that blowing their faces out of proportion makes them feel better 🙁

    Reply to this comment
  2. Bernard
    Bernard October 25, 17:18

    Great article!

    Reply to this comment
  3. BernardHow
    BernardHow October 27, 12:17

    Probably these people that think they need this sort of service are in drugs

    Reply to this comment
  4. BernardHow
    BernardHow October 27, 18:57

    This is interesting how you put this content together.

    Reply to this comment

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