SURVIVING BPDY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER

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Image source (Mine)

Introduction

The stigma surrounding mental health issues makes a lot of these problems go unnoticed. This disorder is commoner than people think and it's very common among females. Suffered from BDD for two years.
It is a mental health disorder in which you obsess over a flaw or flaws in your body which others can clearly not see because it is absent. Or a flaw that is so minor and insignificant to be noticed. For instance, it could be a body part like your nose, ass or legs or even your whole body. It could also be your body size or weight even height. My obsession was my body size
When you have body dysmorphic disorder:
  1. you intensely focus on how you look, repeatedly checking the mirror for long hours There are mirrors all over my house so it didn't help matters. Even a plate or spoon would do if a mirror wasn't available or a puddle of water!!

  2. Constantly seeking the opinion of others concerning that insecurity. Example, does this dress make me look fat

  3. When this perception and the obsessive behavior causes significant distress and affects ability to carry out daily activities.
    In my case restrictive eating and avoidance of social functions to avoid eating.
    Starving for days and passing out. This happened while I was standing during a lecture, next thing I was on a chair being resuscitated.

  4. Seeking numerous fixes or solutions to boost your ego and tone down the feeling of being flawed. Even after a temporary satisfaction, it returns with you looking for more flaws and seeking other means to correct them
    In my case, after I lost 15kg, it didn't stop my obsession about my body size. My BDD stopped for a while then came back with full force. I still viewed myself as plus sized and j still wanted to lose more.
    This went on for years till I developed a severe eating disorder and had to seek help.

Classification

There are two subtypes Body dysmorphic disorder by proxy. The common type discussed below

Muscle dysmorphia also called bigorexia where the person is believes that his muscles are not big enough.

Risk factors and causes

Cause is not clearly known. Most mental health problems have no known cause however there are risk factors Female sex especially young females Having a family member with BDD Fitness enthusiasts like in my case Occupations that require one to stay in shape e.g modelling, athletes Teen age Preexisting mental conditions like Anxiety disorders and depression Childhood experiences like bullying

How would you know?

Most people have this disorder and they don't know, they are living and suffering. It's commoner in young females

Signs and symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder include:

Extreme perception that a part of your body is flawed which others can't see. The commonest body parts affected include
Face (nose, pimples, dark spots)
Hair
Skin complexion
Breast size
Muscle size and tone (Bigorexia)
Size of external genitalia

Strong belief that you have a deformity in your appearance that makes you ugly and unpleasant

Feeling that people would specifically notice the perceived flaw and mock you because of it

Behaviour or activities aimed at fixing or hiding the perceived flaw that are difficult to resist or control, such as frequently checking the mirror, grooming or skin picking

Making numerous attempts to hide perceived flaws in my case, bigger clothes to hide perceived "body fat"

Constant comparison with other people eg Instagram models

Constantly seeking opinion of others on your appearance

Avoidance of social gatherings

How is it treated?

Firstly BDD is a distortion of your body image. Your body image refers to the thoughts, assumptions and beliefs about how you look which develops over time and is influenced by a lot of factors. Simply put, it is your mind's picture about how you view yourself and not how others view you or what you see in the mirror. When there's a problem with this aspect, a psychologist and psychiatrists (mind doctors) are very vital in the treatment.

Any management of mental health issues involves a lot of talking. Talk first before the pills. In psychiatry, every disorder is treated using the biopsychosocial approach.
Bio referring to the biological and physiological component of the disease that is the disease at the cellular and tissue level for example genetics and neurodevelopmental aspect so the focus here would be on drug therapy

Psychosocial referring to the aspect that affects the mind and psych. This is where the psychologists come in with their cognitive behavioural therapy.
In CBT, the negative perceptions about your body image are replaced with positivity. It is done by an experienced mental health specialist and it has been proven to be very effective in management of BDD especially when combined with medicTions

Biological treatment
Medications
The food and drug administration has not approved any medications for treatment of BDD however the following drugs are used to ameliorate and they can be effective

  1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
    This drug is an antidepressant. Serotonin is a chemical substance produced in the body. In layman's language, the happy hormone. This drug increases the levels of this happy hormones as a result they may help control those negative perceptions and obsessive behaviors
Hospitalisation BDD may be so severe that you may need to be admitted. If you are at risk yourself like suicidal thoughts or you are not able to function optimally at school or work. If there are severe complications like major depression or severe eating disorders

Complications

You may ignore this condition till it gets complicated. That's when most people seek help.

  1. Major depression
  2. Mood disorders
  3. Eating disorder
  4. Substance abuse

Prognosis

Some people may have insight or awareness of their condition while some don't. It is variable. You may recognise your thoughts are excessive and not true or have a false perception which you are convinced about. The later has the worst prognosis and causesmore significant distortion of activities

Conclusion

Don't get this disorder wrong. Most people are not happy with the way a part of their body looks but when this thought becomes excessive and is affecting the day to day activities. That's when we refer to this condition as body dysmorphic disorder. Nobody has perfect body and it's okay to want to modify or enhance a part. Striving to become a better version of ourselves doesn't equate to body dysmorphia

REFERENCES

https://www.wikihow.com/Recognize-Body-Dysmorphic-Disorder?amp=1

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353938

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/body-dysmorphic-disorder%3famp=true



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I guess this kind of disorder would be common more in females than males. Personal experiences have shown that females have the tendency to fret over little things.

How you think you look above actually looks like a better version of you as far as aesthetic is concerned. This is my personal opinion though. I love my women with a bit of flesh, really.

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Very common among females, most don't even know they have it. I didn't look bad when I was big but I just saw myself as obese. BDD even goes beyond being insecure. Right now, I don't even care..lol. Anything goes, moderation is key

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