Copyright © 2012-16 | Shelley L. Heusser

Shelley Heusser

Clinical Psychologist

BSocSc Psych. (UCT), BA. Hons Psych. (UCT), MA. Clin. Psych. (NMMU)

Practice No: 0445800  Reg No: 0112860

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Many    of    us    are    concerned    with    some    aspect    of    our    appearance.    Body    Dysmorphic    Disorder,    however,    is characterised    by    a    preoccupation    with    one    or    more    perceived    defects    or    flaws    in    appearance,    which    is unnoticeable   to   others.   Sometimes   the   flaw   is   noticeable   but   it   is   not   as   prominent   or   grave   as   the   sufferer believes. People   with   Body   Dysmorphic   Disorder   often   feel   defined   and   trapped   by   their   flaw. They   tend   to   constantly   check on   how   bad   their   flaw   is,   and   try   to   hide   it   and   avoid   public   or   social   situations   or   triggers   that   increase   distress. They   may   at   times   undergo   needless   cosmetic   and   dermatological   treatments,   or   subject   themselves   to   other forms   of   body   modification.   They   may   spend   several   hours   a   day   thinking   about   their   flaw.   There   is   no   doubt   that the symptoms cause significant distress and there is often an increased risk of suicide or attempted suicide. People with BDD may feel compelled to obsessively repeat certain behaviours such as: Checking their appearance in a mirror Cutting or combing their hair to make it perfect Picking their skin Comparing themselves against models or bodybuilders  in magazines or people in the street Repetitively discussing their appearance with others Camouflaging their appearance The kinds of emotional upset that the preoccupation of Body Dysmorphic Disorder can cause includes: Anxiety Shame Depression Disgust Even   if   a   sufferer’s   concern   about   their   appearance   is   not   noticeable   to   others,   their   distress   is   very   real   and crippling. Muscle Dysmorphia This   is   a   term   used   to   describe   Body   Dysmorphic   Disorder   in   which   the   person   is   preoccupied   with   muscle   size, shape   and   leanness.   People   with   muscle   dysmorphia   often   believe   that   they   look   small,   when   in   reality   they   look normal   or   may   even   be   more   muscular   than   average.   This   can   then   lead   to   preoccupation   with   diet   and   life   can end up revolving around training and working out. Some   people   damage   their   health   by   working   out   excessively,   and   others   resort   to   the   use   of   steroids   to   try   to increase   muscle.   Similar   to   other   presentations   of   Body   Dysmorphic   Disorder,   there   can   be   camouflaging   with clothing   to   make   the   body   appear   larger,   mirror   checking,   and   constant   checking   for   reassurance.   Sufferers   also neglect   important   social   or   occupational   activities   because   of   shame   over   their   perceived   appearance   flaws   and the amount of time taken up by their appearance-related activities.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Copyright © 2012-15 | Shelley L. Heusser

Shelley Heusser

Clinical Psychologist

BSocSc Psych. (UCT), BA. Hons Psych. (UCT), MA. Clin. Psych. (NMMU)

Practice No: 0445800  Reg No: 0112860