We all must have something we don't like about our appearance - pug nose, dark skin, or eyes that are too small. Usually these complaints are only extravagant because we realize that they are only part of our imperfection as humans. But it's another story for some people who feel dissatisfied so they are very obsessed with their "disability". It is important for them to desperately try to have an ideal body shape to be accepted by the community. If you are like this, it might be a sign that you have symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder.
What is body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)?
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a type of mental disorder that is associated with a strong obsession with negative body image. BDD is characterized by incessant thinking and worrying about physical "disability" and bodily appearance, or focusing very much attention on certain body deficiencies
In reality, the perceived /imagined "disability" may only be in the form of minimal imperfections, for example slanted eyes or short postures, or even none at all - feeling fat /ugly even though they really aren't. For other people who see it, that is not a problem. But for them, the "disability" was considered very large and disturbing, causing severe emotional stress and lowering self-confidence to an inferior level.
BDD sufferers can do certain types of obsessive-compulsive behavior (not repetitive without realizing it) to try to hide or disguise their shortcomings even though this behavior usually only provides a temporary solution, for example: camouflage makeup, dress size, style hair, constantly reflecting or even avoiding it altogether, scratching the skin, and so on. Some people with BDD might think of plastic surgery to improve their appearance.
It needs to be distinguished by how normal people treat their bodies. Regular body care is natural and beneficial. But this obsession makes it difficult for people with BDD to focus on anything but their imperfection. Someone who has BDD will be very embarrassed, stressed, and anxious when meeting many people. Even people with severe BDD can justify any means not to leave their homes because they are afraid that other people will judge their appearance badly.
BDD most often occurs in adolescents and adults, and research shows that this affects men and women almost as much. Usually, symptoms of BDD begin to appear in adolescence or early adulthood.
What usually becomes the obsession of BDDs?
People with body dysmorphic disorder are usually very very obsessed with their physical deficiencies, which are not in accordance with their own expectations, which according to him are also not in accordance with the ideal "standards" of the body in society. For example:
- Skin: such as wrinkles, scars, pimples and black spots. BDD people are obsessed with having beautiful and smooth skin. Few cuts or pimples that damage the appearance of the skin can make people with BDD panic.
- Hair, including head hair or hair on body parts. They may want to have beautiful and healthy head hair, and not want to have hair on certain body parts, such as the armpits and genitals.
- Facial features: such as wanting to have a sharp nose, long chin, thin cheeks, thicker lips, and more.
- Weight: people with BDD are usually obsessed with having an ideal body weight or having muscular muscles.
- Other body parts: like the breasts and buttocks that want to look fuller, the penis that wants to be bigger, and more.
What is the cause of BDD?
The cause of BDD is unknown. But certain biological and environmental factors can contribute to their development, including genetic predispositions, neurobiological factors such as impaired serotonin function in the brain, personality traits, social media influences and family to friends, and cultural and life experiences.
Traumatic experiences or emotional conflicts during childhood and low levels of confidence can also increase your risk of experiencing BDD. Therefore, an important level of confidence is instilled early on.
What are the symptoms of BDD?
BDD can affect everyday life, including work, social life, and relationships. This is because people with BDD have a distorted view of themselves and only focus their attention on their own shortcomings, so they are less able to pay attention to the surrounding environment.
Therefore, the symptoms of BDD are important to know so that the development can be stopped early. Some early signs that someone might have BDD are:
- Like comparing his appearance with others.
- Like to behave over and over and over, like mirroring or trying to hide or cover up defects in the skin.
- Always ask the surrounding people that the defect in their appearance is visible or not.
- Repeatedly pay attention or touch the perceived defect.
- Feel anxious or don't want to be around people.
- Doing a diet and /or excessive exercise.
- Repeatedly consult a medical specialist, such as a plastic surgeon or dermatologist, to improve his appearance.
Dissatisfaction with body shape may trigger people with BDD for extreme diets that trigger anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders. Some people with BDD can think of suicide or attempt suicide because they feel they have a dream body shape due to their "defective body".
How do you deal with body dysmorphic disorder?
Body dysmorphic disorder is often not recognized by the body's body so they avoid talking about symptoms. But it is important to consult a doctor as soon as you are aware of the initial symptoms.
The doctor can diagnose you from a medical history and physical examination or refer to an expert (psychiatrist, psychologist) for a better assessment. Cognitive behavioral therapy along with medications is quite effective and is most often used as a BDD treatment plan.
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