Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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Let’s face it - at one time or another you’ve wished a part of your body looked a little differently. It might be that you think your thighs are too big, your skin is not perfect, or your nose has a little bump in the middle that EVERYONE can notice. This kind of thinking is pretty common and relatively normal, whether it’s true or not. However, these thoughts become a problem when they start to rule your life. This kind of obsessing over a part of your body is known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (or BDD).

Some common symptoms include frequently:
•checking out how you look in mirrors, picking at your skin;
•trying to hide or disguise the body part or yourself;
•avoiding going out or being with others because you feel so self-conscious about an aspect of your appearance;
•feeling depressed or anxious and trying to ‘fix’ the body part through exercise, medication, surgery, and other sorts of treatment

If you are concerned that these behaviors and feelings sound familiar, it is important that you speak to a doctor or psychologist, counselor or other mental health professional to find out more. These trained professionals can help someone who is struggling with their body image feel better about themselves and grow to love their body.

For more details about BDD, check out the Mayo Clinicwebsite.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.  

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