BDD is a mental disorder where a person is preoccupied with an imagined or minor physical defect that others often cannot see.
As a result, people with BDD see themselves as "ugly" and often avoid social exposure. The preoccupation with the defect often leads to ritualistic behaviours, such as always looking in a mirror or picking at the skin. The person with BDD eventually becomes overly obsessed with the defect so that their social, work, and home functioning suffers.
The most common areas of concern include:
Other areas of concern include the size of the penis, muscles, breasts, thighs, buttocks, and body odours.
One theory suggests BDD involves a problem with the size or functioning of specific brain areas. BDD often occurs in people with other mental disorders, such as major depression and anxiety.
Other factors that trigger BDD include:
Many BDD cases go unrecognised because people with the disorder often feel embarrassed and reluctant to speak about their concerns.
Treatment for BDD includes a combination of the following therapies:
The outlook is promising for people with BDD who receive and follow treatment. Those with a strong support team tend to do better in the long run.
People with BDD are at high risk for developing major depression, and the distress associated with the disorder puts people with BDD at high risk for suicide. Treatment is advisable as soon as a person begins to have symptoms. Encouraging healthy and realistic attitudes about body image is helpful, as well as a supportive environment.
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