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Equipped to...Tune in to the Body Blues
This newsletter introduces Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a comprehensive article found on my website.
Are you concerned about some aspect of your appearance? If you are, you would be considered ‘normal’ as most people are bothered about some part of their face or body. Perhaps you think you have an ugly nose, your ears are too big or your knees are too knobbly!
As July is Mental Illness Awareness Month, it is a good opportunity to consider that there is often just a fine line between mental health and mental illness. Some people become so preoccupied with their appearance that it becomes excessively time consuming and causes them significant distress. When this happens normal crosses the line into abnormal and such individuals are diagnosed as having a mental disorder known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a mental illness where people are preoccupied with an apparent defect in their appearance. This defect is either imagined, or if a slight physical anomaly is present, the person’s concern is markedly excessive.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is only diagnosed if the preoccupation causes significant distress or impairs their lives.
When Does a Concern With Appearance Become BDD?
An individual with Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be distinguished from someone who merely has a negative attitude toward their body by the associated features of BDD. For example, individuals with BDD will spend many hours a day scrutinising their ‘defect’ in any available reflecting surface.
In addition there may be excessive grooming behaviour, such as excessive hair combing, hair removal, ritualised make-up application or skin picking.
An individual with Body Dysmorphic Disorder may frequently ask for reassurance about the ‘defect’, but such reassurance leads only to temporary relief or no relief at all.
Individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder may frequently compare their ‘ugly’ body part with that of others. They may try to camouflage their ‘defect’ by for example: growing a beard to hide imagined facial scars; wearing a hat to hide imagined hair loss or always wearing closed shoes to hide imagined ugly feet.
Do I Have Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
If you think you have crossed the boundary between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ concern about your appearance, take the self – test.
What Treatments are Available?
Want to know what treatments are available? Read about them in the Body Dysmorphic Disorder article.
Image: Egyptian Wallhanging
Have Something to say?
Do you have Body Dysmorphic Disorder? Please share your experience with us.
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Tip! Save these newsletters and accumulate the series on Putting the Logical Back into Psychological
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