Updated: Nov 4, 2020
What is body dysmorphia? You might have loosely heard the term before in regards to eating disorders but it is more common thank you think. 1 in 50 Americans suffer from body dysmorphia and that number is growing. The idea of the "perfect" of women's body image has been plastered everywhere and it's enough to psychological alter a womens perspective on herself. Today we are going to be talking about body dysmorphia, which is the destorted image of one's own body. Being critical on yourself is a natural trait we all do, but the reason why body dysmorphia is dangerous is because it is usually accompanied by distructive behaviors like low-self esteem, isolation and eating disorders
Textbook Definition -
"Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a distinct mental disorder in which a person is preoccupied with an imagined physical defect or a minor defect that others often cannot see.". Body dysmorphic disorder is categorized as a depressive/anxiety disorder. People with body dysmorphia often dislike any part of there body including there face, hair or body parts. Some people with it, focus on a single flaw and imagine it is bigger than it is. This fixation interfers with there daily life activities.
Engaging in repetitive and time-consuming behaviors, such as trying to hide or cover up the perceived defect
Constantly asking for reassurance that the defect is not visible or too obvious
Repeatedly measuring or touching the perceived defect
Experiencing problems at work or school, or in relationships due to the inability to stop focusing about the perceived defect
Feeling self-conscious and not wanting to go out in public, or feeling anxious when around other people
Camouflaging (with body position, clothing, makeup, hair, hats, etc.)
Comparing body part to others' appearance
Checking in a mirror
Changing clothes excessively
There is no true cause of BDD but scientist accredit it to a brain malfunctions, traumatic experiences in childhood, environmental influences and low self-esteem. Another influence. not to ignore, is social media and media influences. The body types and images of people shown as "beautiful" can impact one to change their attitude towards themselves. Yes scrolling through Instagram or having Barbies can help add to the cause of the disorder.
Could You Have It?
Yes. Although BDD can only be diagnosed by a doctor, many cases of it go undiagnosed because people are embarassed to tell a doctor about the symptoms. Some may even ignore there symptoms, and see it as just being insecure. One of the biggest flags of BDD is multiple frequent plastic surgery procedures or eating disorders.
What Can You Do?
With the frequency of Instagram and photoshop, the images of what is perfect is posted everyday. Women, especially are bombared with how they "should look". With the accessabilty of plastic surgery, fixing your imperfections seems simple as can be. Although everyone has their own insecurites, if your habits impacting your regular daily function, going to your doctor is crucial to getting help. A scar on your cheek, thin hair or having rolls doesn't make you ugly or insufficient. We all have flaws. As a person who had a few symptoms of body dysmorphia, it has been a journey gaining confidence and accepting your body, but it is one worth taking.
1. First get off of Instagram or take a detox. Most pictures of famous people, IG models or influences on Instagram are photoshopped or edited. Seeing this images daily can distort your image of reality. More so, when you compare yourself to these edited images you can feel insecure. Log out of social media apps, or unfollowing certain people can help give your mind a break.
2. Is it real ? In regards to weight, identifying if you have BDD can come from a simple search. If you are 5'5" and 90lb, chances are you do not need to lose weight; you need to gain weight. Although BDD alters how you view yourself, research a healthy weight for your height. If you think you are big or overweight but you're at a healthy weight or underweight; understand the discrepancy and disclose your issue with a doctor.
3. Accept yourself at every stage. When you are looking to lose weight, get clear skin, grow longer hair or anything else that change won't make you feel confident about yourself. It can aid in how you appear aesthtically, but all the confidence comes from the inside. You must first acept yourself as you are before you begin again transformation. This is the most difficult step in anything; you want to change because you dislike something. But self-love comes from within and cannot be substituted by any physical changes.
Body dysmorphia is just one of the many disorders that plagued people everywhere. Conditioning your mind and surrounding yourself with flawed people, people who look like you, people who don't and just people who exude love, can help you avoid the disorder. Teaching young girls to love themselves and normalizing stretch marks, different hair tetures, discolored skin and other attributes that is so common, can help stop environmental impacts of these disease. And if you have many symptoms already tell a doctor and get help.