What, Who and How's of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Most of us have something we don't like about our appearance — a mole, crooked teeth or maybe even the shape of your nose.

Image Source: IANS

That is a perfectly fine thing if it doesn't interfere with our daily lives. Some people might even imagine such flaws. People who think about their real or perceived flaws for hours each day, suffer from BDD. This obsessive thinking can affect their academics, work life or even personal life.

Unravelling Body Dysmorphic Disorder

What is BDD?

BDD stands for Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It is a disorder wherein a person goes through a lot of negativity and distress because of their looks. Those diagnosed with BDD offen find fault with their body parts. Some may even imagine flaws. Even when others reassure them that they look fine and that the perceived flaw is not significant, a person with BDD will continuously obsess about that particular flaw.

Symptoms of BDD:

Constantly taking selfies for that perfect look

Suffer from obsessions

Self harm, cutting and camouflaging body parts with clothing, makeup, hair etc

Seeking cosmetic surgery

Frequently checking the mirror

Complete aversion to the mirror

Excessive diet and exercise

Feeling useless, empty and having low self esteem

Who is affected?

People who suffer from BDD often dont speak out about their anxiety because of the social stigma associated with it. It is mostly seen in the age groups where the body undergoes quite a bit of transformation like teenage, pregnancy and even menopause. For eg the teen years are a crucial time when the body develops and the children undergo a lot of difficulty accepting their new body. For some puberty could hit them like a truck! It is then that teens become more aware about their sexuality. This is when bras, body hair, body odour - topics that they were once oblivious about become stressful. Comparing other's bodies to yours can be detrimental to your sanity.

Treatment options available

Treatment may include counselling and antidepressant medication. People need to be taught to embrace their body. Embrace their strengths and their flaws. Positive body image - though hard to develop is key to recovering from BDD and boosting your self esteem.

You are not alone!

Fearing social stigma, many people with BDD fail to seek medical help. If you know someone who could possible suffer from BDD, offer them support, make them understand it is nothing to be ashamed of, help them see the light at the end of the BDD tunnel.

Famous personalities who suffered from BDD

Michael Jackson: He is known for his countless cosmetic surgeries. His abusive childhood could be a reason for his BDD. Over time he developed an addiction to pain-killer drugs and sedatives, which ultimately led to his death.  

Miley Cyrus: She says her body image issues started when she was a 11-year-old superstar starring as Hannah Montana.

Uma Thurman: She developed BDD after the birth of her daughter. That was when she started obsessively worrying about her weight.

Ileana D'Cruz: Ileana says she thought she was a misfit and constantly strived to be liked by others when she suffered from BDD. She was very depressed, but was wise to seek medical help.

Other stars who suffered from depression at one point in their life.

Deepika Padukone, Shah Rukh Khan, Manisha Koirala, Yo Yo Honey Singh are a few stars who sought help for their depression.

BDD is treatable. Offer support, spread the word, lets bring down the shame.