What is body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)?
Photographee.eu/Shutterstock People with this disorder feel compelled to continually analyze and criticize their own appearance. Sufferers will fixate on flaws that their friends and family would view as either slight imperfections or even non-existent. BDD isn’t gender-specific, despite what you might have heard: Both men and women battle this disorder. In men, BDD can lead to obsessions with their build, fitness, and height.
According to Ashwini Nadkarni, MD, a psychiatrist and instructor at Harvard Medical School, it’s important to distinguish BDD from eating disorders. “Psychologically, these patients have a tendency to experience deep shame, low self-esteem, and self-loathing.” Although these elements are the hallmarks of BDD, many symptoms can be a clue that something is wrong.
You incredibly self-conscious
InnervisionArt/Shutterstock “People who have body dysmorphic disorder think about their real or perceived flaws for hours each day,” according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. They might believe they have a bulbous or crooked nose, for example, or a lumpy stomach; others with BDD might be generally dissatisfied with their entire body. This isn’t a case of occasionally wishing you had Jennifer Lawrence’s hair or Chris Hemsworth’s abs; BDD is an obsession that can lead sufferers to spend hours in front of a mirror or studying photos of themselves.