What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?

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Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a psychological illness which causes sufferers to obsess about a particular part of their appearance that they perceive as flawed, which can lead to social anxiety.

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Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition in which a patient fixates on flaws that they perceive in their appearance. This flaw is almost invariably something that would never be noticed by anybody else, but to those suffering from BDD, the shame associated with their small flaw will lead to social anxiety, avoidance of social situations and pursuit of unnecessary cosmetic procedures in an attempt to overcome the perceived flaw.

Characteristic signs of BDD include attempts to use clothing or makeup to hide perceived flaws, having strong perfectionist tendencies, and experiencing a lack of satisfaction after cosmetic procedures. Other tell-tale signs include a person constantly checking their appearance in mirrors or asking those around them for reassurance regarding their appearance.

Features which are commonly problematic for those with BDD vary greatly and include pimples, wrinkles, thinning hair, and breast size, amongst many others. If left unchecked, BDD can lead to more serious mental health conditions, including depression and suicidal thoughts.

Diagnosis of BDD is usually based on a combination of a psychological evaluation and an analysis of the patient’s personal and family history. Using their discretion, medical professionals can treat this condition with the prescription of anti-depressant medications or cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches skills for managing negative thoughts and finding alternative rituals to mirror-checking and the ongoing search for reassurance.

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