Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a type of anxiety disorder in which people have a distorted body image. Originally thought to affect women more than men, this condition actually affects both men and women equally. Researchers think that body dysmorphic disorder is associated with a chemical imbalance in the brain that may have a genetic basis.
BDD may drive sufferers to depression and suicide. This article shows you how to recognize the signs and symptoms of BDD to better protect yourself and your loved ones.
People who have BDD should first seek medical and psychiatric help instead of heading straight to a cosmetic surgeon. Some people suffer only mild symptoms of the condition, but others experience paralyzing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Undergoing cosmetic surgery and treatments become a type of addiction for these people.
Some of the signs and symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder include
- excessive grooming
- excessively checking appearance in a mirror
- going to great lengths to hide the perceived imperfection
- frequently comparing the appearance of the perceived defect with the appearance of others
- paralyzing feelings of self-consciousness about the perceived flaw
- constantly seeking assurance from others about how they look
- getting cosmetic surgery
Cosmetic surgery can worsen body dysmorphic disorder. After one cosmetic procedure, the person may start to focus attention on another body area and become preoccupied trying to fix the new "defect". Some patients with BDD may blame the surgeon for making their appearance worse and may even become violent towards the surgeon.
BDD is a potentially life-threatening condition and should be taken seriously. If you suspect you or a family member may be suffering from BDD, seek treatment from a doctor or mental health professional. Getting cosmetic surgery when you are suffering from BDD is no different from a drug addict taking drugs when he or she is suffering from drug withdrawal symptoms.