Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is more common than we may think, to varying degrees. We need look no further than the latest women's magazine to see why this has increased exponentially over the last decade!
"From the sessions that I have had with Lou I feel as if a vacuum cleaner set to pick up all the rubbish has cleared my brain of all the thoughts that were going round and round in my head - the fog that stuck me in the past and made my every decision loaded with doubt and mistrust of my own judgements has been cleared. I still have my story but it doesn't have me anymore."
People with BDD spend an excessive amount of time thinking about minor or imagined defects in their physical appearance; which can lead onto anxiety, panic attacks and obsessive behaviour, even paranoia. For example, they may think that they have a skin blemish or an odd shaped nose and believe that everyone looks at it, and perhaps talks about it. However, it more likely that no-one else can see it, or perhaps the blemish would be considered trivial by most people. The thought of the defect is very distressing for people with BDD. In some cases the condition can have a great impact on day-to-day life and functioning, leading some to not even want to leave their house.
What causes body dysmorphic disorder?
The cause of BDD is not clear; it's a similar condition to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). For example like people with OCD, people with BDD often feel that they have to repeat certain things. Checking how they look, or repeatedly combing their hair, putting make-up on to cover it, or wearing clothes that disguise it. These 'compulsive' acts may ease the anxiety or distress caused by the imagined defect, temporarily. This is similar to the way a compulsion may temporarily ease the anxiety or distress of an obsessive thought in someone with OCD. The treatment of OCD and BDD will be similar.
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