Body Dismorphic Disorder: Things to Know About the Rise of Plastic Surgery and Selfie Addiction

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By Jenille Cristy Maido | April 29, 2014 11:19 PM EST

Excessive selfie has been tagged as a mental illness as well as plastic surgery addiction. In two different reports by the International Business Times, cases of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) has been discussed, and the disorder had never been a good experience for those who survived.

Reuters
People take "selfies" in front of a wall with messages left by anti-government protesters in their encampment in central Bangkok February 25, 2014. An explosion and gunfire rang out near the sprawling anti-government protest site in the Thai capital early on Tuesday after the protesters' leader warned that government supporters were planning to bring armed militants to Bangkok. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj (THAILAND - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) March 15, 2014

The first case is of Danny Bowman, a British teen diagnosed with BDD in the form of selfie addiction. He reportedly spent 10 hours daily with 200 photos of himself, but the numerous shots cannot still satisfy his desires. He eventually tried to commit suicide to break free from addiction.

Simon Cowell's ex-girlfriend Alicia Douvall also battled with BDD. Unlike Bowman, the focus of Douvall's addiction was plastic surgery. She also tried to kill herself in a desperate attempt to flee from her unnatural vanity and to save her daughters from living a meagre life with her.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is often serious. Below are things to know about the mental disease:

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a common disorder - also now considered as obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder - that gets people distressing about the appearance of a certain face or body part or their appearance in general. A person who is suffering from this disorder is said to find even the slightest physical defects of his or her appearance, which are sometimes unapparent to others or even inexistent, and he or she distresses excessively about them.

People suffering from BDD have different perceptions about themselves. Though they usually focus on how "ugly" their hair, neck, and other parts of their face appears, they sometimes think that there are days that these parts they obsess about are "not so bad".

The face is the most common object of these people's distresses, like their nose, eyelids, wrinkles, acne, and a lot more according to Medscape. Other body parts are also subject of "over-concern" such as the breasts, buttocks, chest, biceps, abs, and shoulders (for the males).

Origin of BDD

Researches claim that BDD starts during the adolescent period when these adolescents start comparing themselves to their peers.

Girls and boys, men and women suffer equally from BDD. Girls and women distress about their hair, wrinkles, breasts, buttocks, while boys and men distress about their height or how muscular they appear. Unfortunately, BDD can worsen over the years.

Signs of People with BDD

According to the International OCD Foundation, people with BDD exhibit a certain pattern and similarities in their behaviour. These are only several of those signs:

  •  Comparing self to other people's appearance
  •  Skin picking
  •  Constantly checking one's appearance in the mirror, and at the same time having the need to avoid mirrors
  •  Spending a lot of time grooming
  •  Excessive changing of clothes
  •  Excessive hours spent for exercise and other activities that lead to enhancement of appearance
  •  Resolving to get surgery

What are the Possible Effects of BDD?

  •  Thoughts of suicide
  •  Seeking the aid of cosmetic and plastic surgery
  •  Paranoia
  •  Delusions
  •  Increased feelings of rejection
  •  Violence against other people
  •  Stress
  •  Lack of focus and concentration
  •  Performance in school and work can be affected

Can it Be Cured?

Fortunately, it can. For those who are born with physical indifferences, plastic surgery can be helpful, but this can be addictive as well. A psychological approach on the treatment are best advised depending on the diagnosis of a professional health care provider.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
People take "selfies" in front of a wall with messages left by anti-government protesters in their encampment in central Bangkok February 25, 2014. An explosion and gunfire rang out near the sprawling anti-government protest site in the Thai capital early on Tuesday after the protesters' leader warned that government supporters were planning to bring armed militants to Bangkok. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj (THAILAND - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) March 15, 2014
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