Can you not stand yourself in front of a mirror? Do you hate the way some part of your body parts looks? Do you often compare yourself to others? Are you not able to cope up with the perceived flaws in your body?

High chances are that you might be suffering from body dysmorphia or BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder).

We all have flaws, some of us deal with them and some of us try to hide. However, passing by a mirror we all instinctively take a look at our appearance.

Bottom line, everyone cares about how they appear or look. And it is good to do so until of course, it becomes an obsession.

Body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphia is a mental illness in which a person gets obsessively hateful of how they or some part of their body looks like.

It affects approximately 1.7% to 2.4% of the population, with almost an equal distribution among men and women.

What Is It?

If your concern regarding your appearance has become an obsession, it is time to sit and think.

Most of it is imagined stuff. The person might feel an urge to go through a cosmetic surgery and in fact might even take extreme steps like self-surgery, cutting themselves with blades and knives.

Individuals who suffer from BDD are completely convinced that their bodily flaws are real. They believe and make others believe that they are ugly and there is something wrong with them.

They make fun of their appearance and are always negative about how they look. They often end up comparing themselves to various others, especially close relations, like friends, spouse, siblings etc.

Body dysmorphic disorder

Also Read: Poster Girl Of Body Positivity, Vidya Balan Dresses Up Or Down For Her Roles

In What Ways Can It Harm You?

It is not a state of mind or a behavioural problem, it is a mental illness. More harmful because mostly it goes unnoticed and undiagnosed.

But the biggest threat BDD has is that it develops suicidal tendencies in the person along with acute depression. It is often linked to OCD as well.

I remember a colleague from the States who was treating a soldier in the American Army. He had been on the front line in Iraq and had been shot at and all he could think about was the size of his nose; that is how intense and consuming the preoccupation can be,

says Dr. David Mataix-Cols, a professor and consultant clinical psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry and at the Maudsley Hospital, London.

The BDD phase generally starts in adolescence. The causal factors may be genetic, developmental or simply social and cultural.

Where Does The Problem Lie?

Many patients note earlier trauma, abuse, neglect, teasing, or bullying as the cause of body dysmorphia or the fixation they have developed for a perceived flaw in their body.

Media influence, negative body image ideas are other factors.

The fact however is, as a society, we are to be blamed to promote and limit the idea of a perfect body image. Why does it have to be defined in the first place?

In our society where the matrimonial columns read “fair, slim and beautiful bride wanted” we can hardly expect a “fair” take on body positivity.

Body dysmorphic disorder

Remember grown women in our society calling 4-year-old Blue Ivy ugly a year back? Or calling former First Lady of U.S. Michelle Obama ugly and saying “that underbite makes me squint?”

I too remember certain #FatSideStories being shared on twitter where men have shared how they have been called upon by women for not being ‘muscular and big enough’.

Not only this, just type ‘AM I UGLY’ on Google and a list of online tests would appear that apparently can tell you whether you are ugly or not by asking you a few questions.

Some questions asked on one such site were:

When walking past you on the street, most people tend to…?

  • Run, screaming. Weird.
  • Walk past me. Sometimes they smile.
  • Smile, slow down, follow me with their eyes.

And another,

Some people say that dogs look like their owners, how closely do you resemble your dog?

  • We have the same sweet puppy dog eyes.
  • We have the same goofy grin.
  • We have the same…face pretty much.

Umm, I mean, SERIOUSLY?

Various pages including one on Reddit titled ‘AM I UGLY’ promote the idea of some ideal beauty standards by encouraging others to comment on your looks.

Some have even gone to the extent of saying that ‘do not take this test if you are low in self-esteem, the test is totally honest and uses highly complex mathematical calculations.’

Urghh, please tell us which great mathematician devised a formula for beauty?

This is just heartbreaking and sad to know, how we have regressed as a society.



Image Credits: Google Images

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