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5 Signs That You Could Have a Body Image Disorder

Advertising and the media can heavily impact the way that we see ourselves and our bodies, because of the importance that is placed on physical attractiveness. This can lead to unhealthy behavior like eating disorders or body image disorders (such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in an attempt to achieve the media standard of beauty.

It's important to understand what BDD is, in order to notice the signals. Body image refers to your perceptual body image, which is essentially the way you see yourself. There are bound to be various small things that each of us do not like about our bodies, however, people suffering from BDD obsess over these things (real or perceived) for hours each day.

These negative thoughts become uncontrollable, and, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the individual suffering from BDD does not believe others when they reassure them that they look fine. Body dysmorphic disorder can have the following effects.

Becoming withdrawn: Because people suffering from body dysmorphic disorder are obsessed with their perceived flaws this can lead to an avoidance of social situations.

Comparing your body to that of others: Not only do people with BDD think negative thoughts about their own appearance, but they also compare themselves to other people. And they will constantly need reassurance.

Seeking cosmetic surgery: Often, to correct their perceived flaws, people with BDD want to seek help from cosmetic surgery.

Developing obsessing behaviors: According to Mind, people with BDD can develop routines such as the excessive use of mirrors (or avoiding them entirely), picking at the skin, frequently weighing, comparing themselves to celebrities or models, and excessive grooming.

Feelings of shame: Among the many other symptoms, people with BDD can also develop feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety, and loneliness.

Who does it affect? BDD affects men and women almost equally but is more prevalent in teens and adolescents. In order to treat BDD, an individual must discuss their concerns with a doctor or mental health professional, who will be able to recommend a treatment tailored to that individual. For more information, there are many different organizations to visit including Mind, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and Mayo Clinic.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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