What’s the difference between vanity and Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD?It is common for us to feel uncomfortable about our looks or think we have an imperfection. Maybe you don’t like the shape of your arms, your many freckles, or your nose has a bump you think is a bit too big. This is ok. However in a small population of people, these same imperfections can drive a person to think they are deformed, hideous, or ugly. These kinds of thoughts obsessively consume a person’s mind so much she is driven to pull out her hair, pick her skin, spend hours in the gym lifting weights or even getting surgery after surgery still left feeling she just isn’t “right”. Since he or she can spend hours checking and rechecking themselves in the mirror or try over and over again to cover up this perceived flaw, or a just afraid their “deformity” will be discovered, their social lives are a mess, affecting relationships, jobs and school.
This is the difference between vanity and Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fifth edition (DSM-5), BDD exists in about 2% of the population, affecting both men and women equally. As indicated by the DSM-5, signs you or someone you know may have BDD are:
– Obsession with one or more perceived defect that only you can see
– Spending hours grooming, checking the mirror, picking skin, pulling hair or mentally comparing yourself to others
– Avoiding family, friends, work, school, or any social situation where you think your flaw will be discovered.
– Repetitive surgeries to “correct” flaws
This disorder does not discriminate against culture, race or class. Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Franz Kafka and Shirley Manson may have had BBD, and in a room of 100 people 2 will be trying to hide some aspect of themselves they loathe. Because the suicide rate is high for this disorder, getting help will not only help to alleviate some of these compulsions and anxieties, it could save a life. Medications and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy have been successful in treating BDD.
Reach out to a therapist that has experience treating this disorder. They are the only ones that can make a diagnosis and then prescribe the correct treatment course. If you think you or someone you know has BDD, go to Bddfoundation.org for information on how to find help.
Written by Zuri Girl, Leticia Mora. A Personal Trainer since 2012 with a background in psychology and fitness, she makes personal training a perfect combination to motivate and get people on a healthy lifestyle track. She absolutely loves helping people to realize their goals. Since moving to Switzerland she has started Rockin Bods, a personal training company.