PART A – Health Review What is a health concern? Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a severe but relatively common psychiatric somatoform disorder that is associated with impairment in functioning and a markedly poor quality of life is (Barlow, 2005). BDD sufferers are characterized by an obsessive concern with a part of their physical appearance that they deem to be ‘flawed’ or ‘deformed’, even when the perceived flaw is actually minimal or non-existent (Grant et al, 2001). The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, academic, or role functioning (Medicinenet, 2008). The social implications of the illness results in patients suffering from emotional depression, anxiety, social withdrawal or social isolation and avoiding social interactions and intimate relationships for fear of ridicule and humiliation in regards to their appearance (Grant et al, 2001). BDD patients experience unusually high levels of stress, diminished concentration and productivity, which more often then not results in sufferers dropping out of school or ceasing employment (Perugi et al, 1998). Because of an intense fear of confronting their insecurity, patients can become secretive and reluctant to seek help and instead believe that fixing the perceived ‘deformity’ is the only option to achieve internal contentment (Phillips, 2004). BDD is often misconceived as a vanity-driven obsession with approximately 76% of parents with children that have been diagnosed are under the impression that their child is simply over conceited or even fabricating their condition (Phillips, 1996). A worrying concern is that sufferers do not believe they are more attractive than others, but instead feel that their perceived ‘defect’ is beyond hideous and feel that they should not be seen in public (Grant et al, 2001). Who is affected? (Relevant Stakeholders) Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) most commonly begins or occurs in adolescents and young adults; however, it can also transpire in childhood and surprisingly affects males and females equally (Barlow, 2005). The internal perceived discrepancy between the person’s ‘actual self’ and the ‘ideal self’ that cultivates the BDD often occurs during adolescences, a time when individuals are most concerned about their physical appearance and how others perceive them (Anxiety Treatment Australia, 2012). It is for this precise reason that this health concern has a direct impact on a Health and Physical Education teachers working with students who are within this particular age group. While it is said to only affect (1-2%) of the world's population, BDD is strongly linked to a number of other serious disorders and phobias, often resulting in a patient developing more than one disorder at a time (Barlow,
2005). It also features a suicidal ideation rate of 80% amongst sufferers (Rosen et al, 1995). With a completed suicide rate that is 45 times higher than that of the general population, BDD patients are placed at high risk, especially as the majority of the time young adults suffer for years before seeking help (Grant et al, 2001).
How is health perceived? & How is health sustained? Sufferers of BDD have a distorted sense of health, as they perceive it’s to be the ascertaining of ‘physically aesthetically pleasing perfection’ and are constantly working towards or longing to achieve this state of perfection. The actual definition of health refers to the realisation of the fullest potential of an individual physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually and economically, and the fulfilment of one’s role expectations in the family, community, place of worship, workplace and other setting (Smith, 2006 31514, p. 345). Sufferers of BDD do not possess this same standard of quality of life as the symptoms of this disorder cause impairments in social, academic, or role functioning, thus preventing the...
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