Hey fellow bloggers, I was gone for a few days and decided to step away from my blogging sites and social media to spend time with someone, I had a fun weekend, it was full of laughs, adventure and great food options! I missed all of you as well and when I logged back on, I realized I had missed so much of your lives; who knew.  Two days and I feel like I have missed a weeks worth of information reading your blogs.  I am happy that I have not yet gotten slack for taking time away from blogging, I needed it and I think bloggers need that time away sometimes, in order to enjoy other aspects of their lives.  I hope all of you have had a good weekend too and for today I am going to start our topic of discussion on a disorder called body dysmorphic.  Some of you may or may not have heard of this particular disorder, so I am going to talk about what it is, what it means and share some thoughts around it.  If you or someone you know has this disorder, please free to share with me, I can relate because for awhile I think I had this disorder and sometimes I still feel as though I may have it depending on my mood and feelings about my body.  Mine was unknown to me, and I didn't think nothing of it, because I didn't realize it was a disorder until I looked up some information out of curiosity and wanting understanding on what I thought was wrong with me.  This isn't an easy disorder to deal with and something that one doesn't realize right away or even thinks twice about because we believe in what we see in the mirror and don't understand how others may perceive us. I hope by reading this, many of you can start to understand it better, seek help and work on self and learn how to handle it better. I didn't seek help from a professional, I just learned to deal with it on my own and I don't recommend doing as I did because it is very hard and frustrating.  

 

Body dysmorphic disorder- A mental disorder in which you can't stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance (a flaw to others that is either minor or not observable).

 

  • it can cause you to avoid social situations
  • intensely obsess over body image and/or appearance 
  • repeatedly checking the mirror
  • grooming or seeking reassurance
  • the perceived flaw can cause distress, impact ability to function in your daily life
  • some may seek out many cosmetic surgeries to fix the "flaws"
  • shares some similarities with eating disorders but the difference being BDD is concerned about a specific body part and eating disorders are focused on weight and shape of the entire body
  • long term disorder that effects men and women
  • usually begins during teen years or early adulthood

Most common areas of concern:

  1. Skin imperfectons- include wrinkles, scares, acne, blemishes
  2. Hair- absence of hair, or head and body hair
  3. Facial features- shape and size of any feature
  4. body weight- obsess about their weight or muscle tone
  5. size of penis, muscles, breast, thighs, buttocks, and the presence of certain body odors

Symptoms:

  • Being extremely preoccupied with a perceived flaw in appearance that to others can't be seen or is minor
  • Engaging in repetitive and time consuming behaviors (looking in the mirror, picking at the skin, trying to hide or cover up the perceived flaw/defect)
  • Strong belief that you have defect in your appearance that makes you ugly or deformed
  • Constantly asking for reassurance that the defect is not visible or too obvious
  • Belief that others take special notice of your appearance in a negative way or mock you
  • Repeatedly measuring or touching the perceived defect
  • Constantly comparing your appearance with others
  • Experiencing problems at work, school, and relationships due to the inability to stop focusing about the perceived defect
  • Having perfectionist tendencies
  • Feeling self conscious and not wanting to go out in public, or feeling anxious when around other people
  • Seeking frequent cosmetic procedures with little satisfaction

Causes:

The exact cause of BDD is not known, may occur because of combination of different things.

  1. Brain differences- abnormalities in brain structure, or neurochemistry
  2. experience of traumatic events, or emotional conflict during childhood
  3. Genes- some studies have shown that BDD is more common in people's blood relatives who also have this condition or OCD
  4. low self esteem
  5. Environment- your environment, life experiences and culture may contribute to BDD, especially if they involved negative social evaluations about your body or self image.  Childhood neglect or abuse as well can be a contributing factor.
  6. Pressure from peers or society that equates physical appearance with beauty

Complications that may be caused by BDD or associate with it:

  • Major depression or other mood disorders
  • suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Anxiety disorders
  • health problems from behaviors
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • eating disorders
  • substance abuse 

How is BDD diagnosed?

  1. when patients repeatedly seek cosmetic surgery for the same or multiple perceived defects
  2. psychological evaluation that assesses risk factors and thoughts, feelings and behaviors related to negative self image
  3. personal, social, family and medical history
  4. Symptoms listed in the diagnostic statistical manual of mental disorders 

Many cases of BDD go unrecognized because people with this disorder are often embarrassed or reluctant to tell a professional and as a result the condition can go unnoticed for years or never be diagnosed. 

 

Treatment:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy 
  • Medication
  • Group/family therapy
  • sometimes hospitalization if it is severe
  • This disorder cannot be cured, but treatment could help

 

For many people like myself, we don't even realize how it can damage our daily lives until we have allowed it to, but understanding it and seeking help can definitely make a difference in how we handle it and achieve a sustainable lifestyle.  Mine is more focused on muscle tone, and body weight. I think my thighs and abs are the specific spots I focus on, more so,  than much else when it comes to my body and I believe mine was brought on by negative social evaluations and peer pressure from others.  I have not been diagnosed by a professional, but I diagnosed myself with it because I think I have more than enough signs of it.  Although mine is not severe in my opinion and has not ruined anything in my daily life as far as work, school or relationships.  It is triggered when I compare myself to others or when I wear certain clothes sometimes.  It is random, but nothing that others notice necessarily or has brought to my attention, I usually hide it with my confidence and it hasn't kept me from wearing a bikini or anything so mine may be more minor compared to others.  I do not have an cosmetic surgery and I don't normally talk about it with people.  It is a breath of fresh air to talk about with all of you though because I think it is something we need to be more aware of and make others aware of it.  I think if we talk about stuff like this more often in the media and bring it to light, more people than we know could come forward and share their stories, their thoughts and might not be so scared to seek help or seek someone to talk to about it.  I think disorders as a whole are very, very important and with me working in the fitness industry, it can be difficult to suppress it at times because the peer pressures of looking good and having a certain look is very important in this field sometimes.  This is why I push for good health, and making body image less of a beauty thing and more of a self confidence thing. Do me a favor and share this post, reblog it, comment, like it and make people aware of body dysmorphic disorder, thank you for reading!

 

Your fitness blogger,

Shay-lon xoxoxo

 

 

 

 

Published by Shay-Lon Moss