BDD or Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a disorder that causes someone to obsessively think about an imagined or barely there defect in their appearance.
This obsession has been researched and measured to adequately diagnose patients. Researchers report that those suffering from body dysmorphia may think about their perceived flaw or defect for up to 8 hours or more in a single day.
BDD can affect many people around the world so we are here to debunk some common misconceptions surrounding the disorder.
Myth 1: Body Dysmorphia Only Affects Young Women
While body dysmorphia is often discussed when talking about the discrepancies in women’s clothing styles and the sizing charts across brands, it does not mean that body dysmorphia only affects young women.
Since body dysmorphia causes people to fixate on a flaw that only they seem to notice, the disorder can affect anyone regardless of gender and age. It can be any feature from the shape of a person’s eyes to the size of their breasts and even their feet.
Additionally, it is not uncommon for symptoms of BDD to show in young adults going through puberty as their bodies are changing and developing. However, this does not mean that it cannot be present in adults too.
Myth 2: Body Dysmorphia and Gender Dysphoria Are Interchangeable
While issues such as body dysmorphia and gender dysphoria are often discussed together and can exist simultaneously, it does not mean that they are dependent on each other or cause each other.
Gender dysphoria is the idea or belief that someone was born in the wrong body or was assigned the wrong gender at birth as their gender identity does not fit the gender associated with their reproductive organs.
Body dysmorphia can be associated with gender dysphoria as the flaw that a person obsesses over can be their reproductive organs but this does not mean that gender dysphoria is a type of body dysmorphia.
Body dysmorphia is classified as a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD which means an obsession with changing or fixing a body part. Just because those with gender dysphoria might constantly think about transitioning or pursuing gender-affirmation surgery, it does not mean that they automatically suffer from BDD.
Myth 3: Plastic Surgery Can Treat Body Dysmorphia
While plastic surgery may seem like the correct route to take, it can end up exacerbating BDD and even cause it.
Going under the knife to fix an imaginative or slight flaw might provide instant gratification but can start an endless cycle of new obsessions and more surgeries.
BDD is a mental illness which means that making a physical surgical change will not cure it but rather fuel the obsession.
Therapy is the recommended treatment to treat those suffering from body dysmorphia.
Myth 4: Everyone Experiences Body Dysmorphia
This myth could not be further from the truth as body dysmorphia is not a fleeting feeling but a mental disorder. We cannot stress the “disorder” aspect of BDD any more than disproving this myth.
While many people struggle with body image issues at some point in their life due to society’s beauty standards, bullying or just considering themselves undesirable, it is not the same as body dysmorphia.
BDD leaves those who suffer from the disorder unable to focus and function in their normal lives because of their perceived flaw. The disorder can cause them to isolate themselves and obsess over the perceived flaw thinking about it multiple times a day.
Finally, body dysmorphia is a serious disorder and can consume someone’s life leading them to take drastic steps if not treated correctly. Don’t believe these myths when a friend asks for help as you may be their saving grace.
Seek treatment immediately if you think you or someone else is suffering from BDD.