Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Previously known as Dysmorphophobia, Body Dysmorphic Disorder was first documented in 1886 by Morselli. The name changed to the latter and was accepted into the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM in 1987 (Wikipedia). Shortened to BDD, this disorder is characterized by a person who is obsessively preoccupied with changing their outward appearance to become more attractive when outsiders see nothing in need of such changes. These bodily obsessions can be about any number of physical features including, but not limited to: hair, weight, skin, nose, eyes, waist, and height.

Usually diagnosed in one’s teenage years, there are many causes of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, from psychological to environmental. Some psychological causes may be excessive teasing or bullying and childhood abuse. Environmental stimuli, such as television, movies, and magazines, all give children an unreal portrayal of what people are supposed to look like (Wikipedia).

Symptoms of BDD are often determined by the nature of the patient’s “defect.” Some symptoms, as noted by Wikipedia, are: obsessive thoughts about perceived appearance defects, social and family withdrawal (also called social phobia or agoraphobia), thoughts of suicide, anxiety, and continuous low self-esteem. These symptoms are serious by themselves, but they may also lead to the patient experiencing Major depressive disorder symptoms, inability to focus on anything but their appearance, therefore, not being able to work, and drug and alcohol abuse (Wikipedia).

Those who experience this disease are likely to perform a number of compulsive behaviors in order to function in normal society. One of the most common practices is habitually checking and rechecking one’s appearance in any type of reflective surface. Conversely to this, another person suffering from BDD may not be able to look at themselves at all due to their gross over-exaggeration of their...
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