Do you ever catch yourself looking in every mirror you pass? Always looking at a specific part of your body? Maybe you’ve noticed a personal fixation. For example, you seek the best HIIT workout, internet hack, and obscure creams to “fix” a part of your appearance you vehemently dislike.
It’s normal for someone to feel insecure about different parts of their appearance, especially in today’s society. We live in a world where everyone’s best appearance is on display. Rarely do we see the bad side of people online.
It’s understandable to compare ourselves to others; however, making this comparison can become a dangerous fixation. This is why we must learn more about body image and body dysmorphic disorders. By learning more, we can learn how to take care of ourselves mentally and physically.
What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
Body dysmorphic disorder, also known as BDD, is a mental health disorder. This disorder can distort your view and opinion of your body and insecurities. If you have BDD, you will probably experience intense negative thoughts about your perceived flaws.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “Body Dysmorphic Disorder affects 1.7% to 2.4% of the general population-about 1 in 50 people.”
Body dysmorphic disorder can be a hyper fixation on any part of your body. For example, it can be your nose, smile, arms, eyes, hands, feet, legs, muscles, shape, and the list goes on. Even if no one else notices your “flaws”, a person with BDD will always be aware of it. Because it is a mental health disorder, people will deal with the emotional repercussions of body dysmorphic disorder.
What Causes Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
There isn’t a single, fits-all cause of body dysmorphic disorder. However, various life circumstances have been known to lead to BDD.
Past Experiences with Insecurity
For example, individuals that have undergone bullying, abuse, or trauma. If someone is bullied or abused by peers or family members, they may begin to look at themselves negatively. Past experiences with insecurity can include being diagnosed with anxiety, depression, social phobia, OCD, eating disorders, etc. Those with a preexisting mental health disorder are also at risk for BDD.
Prolonged Exposure to BDD
People with friends and family that have body dysmorphic disorder are also likely to develop this mental health problem. When someone is exposed to this behavior, it becomes common and expected. Sadly, this type of behavior is typical in today’s world. People that encourage or witness others with this disorder can lead to their illness.
Societal Demands and Social Media
Lastly, individuals that are exposed to unrealistic beauty standards and societal demands are also likely to develop a body image disorder. In today’s society, we are told to look and act a certain way. If someone feels that they do not fit in this mold, they may experience the heartache of body dysmorphic disorder. The pressure of social media and societal norms are dangerous for those with BDD symptoms.
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder, it is pertinent that you get help. Cognitive behavioral therapy and self-care can aid someone in their recovery. General practitioners can also medically treat symptoms, such as depression and anxiety.
If your symptoms have led you or someone else to engage in suicidal thoughts, it is best to seek immediate help. First responders and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can help you work through your thoughts and symptoms.