I'm Looking at The Man in the Mirror

by Rachel Moan |

 Like most people, we get anxieties that creep into our minds, altering our bodies, perceptions and way of life. In this introduction to Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)- we look at one of the most dangerous set of thoughts about what we look like; and it's a lot more common that we may realise.

Here we explore what BDD is and why it's far more prevalent than you may realise....and whether you might be suffering from it...and what to do next. Understand that there is absolutely no shame in it and then help is at hand.

Most importantly, understand how you can create a mindset where you can help yourself and others, gain confidence and recognise when you need to help yourself and others.


What is it?

The NHS website states that:

 "Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance."


It's different to someone feeling that they don't look great one day, or that are vain - the thoughts can be extremely distressing and it's a medical disorder.


Whilst rough estimates indicate that approximately up to one in every 100 people may have the condition, its expected to be much higher due to sufferers hiding it from others. It can affect people of any age but seems to be particularly common in teenagers.

 The NHS online state that a person with BDD may:

  • constantly compare their looks to other people's
  • spend a long time in front of a mirror, but at other times avoid mirrors altogether
  • spend a long time concealing what they believe is a defect
  • become distressed by a particular area of their body (most commonly their face)
  • feel anxious when around other people and avoid social situations
  • be very secretive and reluctant to seek help, because they believe others will see them as vain or self-obsessed
  • seek medical treatment for the perceived defect – for example, they may have cosmetic surgery, which is unlikely to relieve their distress
  • excessively diet and exercise

 Moreover, sufferers may begin self-harming, develop eating disorders and have suicidal thoughts.


What are the causes?

The causes of BDD are unclear but may be linked to genetics or caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Past experiences may also be a possible cause including trauma, bullying,  depressions and stress for example.

This isn't a rare disorder - it's increasingly common. Sometimes you need to know when to help yourself and others.


 What Can Be Done to Help?

It all begins with working on yourself; learn how to look after yourself and others - and when you may need to ask for help. There is nothing wrong with that. Whilst treatment for BDD needs to include medical professionals, we are passionate about being able to help you and old men and women to be confident in themselves, their abilities and equip them with mental skills to help deal with really challenging times...and thrive.

It's always important to seek professional help and try to share your problems with others.

Alongside that, there are many other things you can do to positively influence your mind, feel good about yourself, relax, settle anxieties and feel more positive about what's going on around you.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is said to be particularly helpful in dealing with the disorder and self-help resources that use such principles.

Whilst BDD is centered around food, there are many more areas to develop and support ourselves with. These include learning applying the principles of:

  • Yoga and Pilates for wellbeing
  • Relaxation
  • Goal setting
  • Time management
  • Creating and maintaining a positive mental state
  • Improving confidence
  • Helping others
  • How to deal with significant setbacks
  • Understanding and recovering from failure
  • Understand that it's O.K. to not be O.K. sometimes
  • Using creativity for wellbeing and expression
  • Dealing with pressure
  • Dealing with negativity

 Remember...you aren't alone.