What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder??
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a clinically recognised condition defined as a preoccupation with a perceived defect in one’s appearance. If a slight defect is present, which others hardly notice, then the concern is regarded as markedly excessive.
In order to obtain a diagnosis of BDD, the preoccupation must cause significant distress or handicap in social, school or occupational life. The degree to which people experience BDD varies so that some people will acknowledge that they may be blowing things out of all proportion. Others are so firmly convinced about their defect that they are regarded as having a delusion.
Whatever the degree of insight into their condition, people with BDD often realise that others think their appearance to be ‘normal’ and have been told so many times. They usually distort these comments to fit in with their views (for example, “They only say I’m normal to be nice to me” or “They say it to stop me being upset”). Alternatively, they may firmly remember one critical comment about their appearance and dismiss 100 other comments that are neutral or complimentary.
It is important to recognise that the disabling nature of the disorder can lead to feelings of futility and depression. Suicide is higher in people who are experiencing Body Dysmorphia. While studies have shown that if BDD is not treated correctly in adolescence, it can become chronic, when it is treated appropriately most people eventually get better.