Do You Have Body Dysmorphia?
We all have some insecurities about our appearance. This may include our weight, skin, hair, etc. or there may be one particular feature that is bothersome. In addition, social media makes it easier than ever to compare ourselves to others. We may find ourselves scrolling through perfectly edited pictures of others, wondering why we are less than these perfect individuals. Although most of us experience something similar, we do not obsess over this for hours and let it interfere with our day-to-day life.
People with anorexia nervosa and BDD have similar abnormalities in the brain that impact their ability to process visual information. A UCLA study found abnormal activity in the visual cortex during the phase when the brain processes “global” information. In addition, abnormal activity in the ACG, basal ganglia, and limbic system is seen in people with BDD. The ACG helps people shift to different thoughts and activities. People with BDD may get “stuck” in an obsessive mode. The basal ganglia is also involved in managing anxiety levels, and this region may be overaction in those with BDD. Lastly, overactivity in the limbic system is linked to negative thought patterns and depressive symptoms.
How can you tell body dissatisfaction apart from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)? Approximately 1 in 50 people in America struggle with BDD. BDD is a mental health condition characterized by obsessive thinking and preoccupation with one’s body. People with BDD cannot stop thinking about one or more physical defects which may be minor or imperceptible to others. It can happen at any age and affects all genders. Thoughts associated with BDD may cause anxiety or severe distress.
Symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder:
- Fixation on a physical imperfection that may be real or imagined
- Engagement in behaviors or activities to reduce the flaw (excessively exercising, plastic surgery, etc.)
- Constantly comparing self to others
- Significant emotional distress and impacts on life or daily activities. Some may experience anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, shame, or disgust that may impact work, home, or social environments
Call Serenity Trauma Healing Center to discuss which treatment option would be best for you and take charge of your destiny to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled!