Are you excessively occupied with your outward appearance? Did you know that you may be suffering from an eating disorder known as body dysmorphic disorder? Let’s take a look at what is body dysmorphic disorder.
According to an article at bulimia.com, “Are You Obsessed with Your Appearance?
“Eating disorders are mental illnesses defined by abnormal dietary habits, such as eating excessively small or large amounts of food that have the potential to cause major physical and mental problems. Most common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. A distorted and unhealthy body image often accompanies these conditions. For instance, those who suffer from anorexia nervosa entertain an irrational fear of obesity to the point of becoming underweight. Bulimia sufferers compensate episodes of binge eating with purging or excessive exercise because of the same fear of gaining weight. Eating disorders are often characterized by an obsessive preoccupation with body image – a characteristic they share with another mental illness, namely body dysmorphic disorder.
What is BDD?
Body dysmorphic disorder, commonly known as BDD, is a mental illness characterized by fixation on one or more self-perceived body flaws, leading to serious mental distress and inability to properly function socially. Sometimes the defect in the individual’s appearance is real but utterly exaggerated; other times, it is imagined. Patients may be preoccupied with a facial flaw, such as a long nose, asymmetric features, acne, scars or wrinkles, a perceived defect in any other part of the body, or with their overall body appearance and size. They obsessively try to hide the real or imaginary defect and, while they understand others do not perceive them as “ugly”, their “ugliness” is painfully real in their eyes.
Social phobia, anxiety and a diminished quality of life are common comorbidities. Sufferers of BDD may become depressed, socially isolated, avoid intimate relationships for fear of being humiliated or even attempt suicide.
Their preoccupation with appearance leads to obsessive rituals, such as constantly checking their image in the mirror, perpetual grooming, attempts to camouflage the flaw with makeup or clothes, permanently seeking reassurance from others, excessive exercising, etc. Such repetitive habits make this aspect of BDD strikingly similar to OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). In fact, these two often coexist.
Social phobia, anxiety and a diminished quality of life are common comorbidities. Sufferers of BDD may become depressed, socially isolated, avoid intimate relationships for fear of being humiliated or even attempt suicide. Suicidal ideation (unusual preoccupation with suicide) is a very common occurrence among those with BDD.” Read the entire article at http://www.bulimia.com/topics/body-image/.