Body Dysmorphic Disorder: have you got it?


You don’t have anything physically wrong with you. People tell you you’re attractive. But deep inside, there’s a dreadful feeling that’s eating you up. No matter what other people say, that feeling whispers awful things in your ear – and it’s making you feel ugly.

You’re not alone with this dread. Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), otherwise known as “imagined ugliness”, affects thousands of people, some of whom will go to drastic measures to cure themselves.

This seemingly unbreakable anxiety can stem from other factors and phobias – and it has the capacity to ruin some people’s lives.

One solution could be the beauty industry. Despite cosmetic advertising arguably causing an increase in beauty self-consciousness, it could also facilitate a healthier state of mind.

Some will attend a Botox clinic, for instance, to provide a one-off relief from these underlying health issues. This stems from the perception that, thanks to its well-established beautifying properties, Botox will provide a mental boost.

However, your first step should be to ask for help. While it’s not a well-established disorder, it still affects around one in 100 people, and is commonly recognised amongst medical professionals. As such, finding assistance for your problem requires a simple trip to your local GP.

And finding help is a necessity, before symptoms exacerbate.

The obsession of BDD

A root of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), BDD can spiral out of control. You’ll apply makeup over and over again, never satisfied by your looks. You’ll exercise endlessly, never tiring and never gaining the ideal figure.

The impact can even prove stultifying for children’s development.

“It is terrible for the young person’s development because being around other people is extremely painful and anxiety-provoking, and in severe cases they can become housebound,” Dr Mataix-Cols, an expert in the illness, says.

Samantha, spoken to by national newspaper the Telegraph, suffered from the disease when she was young. She would study what she saw as the perfect look of celebrities, ticking off the features she’d try to attain.

Before long, she had given up on school altogether, so great was her anxiety surrounding her appearance.

Soon, her mental health spiralled out of control, and her mother had to stay at home all hours to ensure her safety.

Now, however, Samantha is saved from the blight of BDD. After thorough treatment, she is in recovery.

It’s a story that could provide hope to anyone with severe anxieties about their appearance. While we might be used to being bombarded with celebs on beauty pedestals, sometimes people need to know that it’s okay to look imperfect.


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