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Kim Kardashian Thinks She Has BDD, But What Is It?

Body dysmorphia does not sound familiar at all, only if you are not keeping up with the Kardashians. In a recent episode of the popular reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kim Kardashian West confessed that like most of us, she experiences major angst and anxiety especially when confronted with her own body image and has major doubts as to whether she is shaping up or not. ‘You may take celebrity pictures and people could just body-shame you’, says the socialite while discussing about her new bathing suit photos, taken on vacation. It was traumatic and she ‘literally’ experienced body dysmorphia. We hear about this term a lot, but many do not really understand what it actually refers to. To find out more, we turned to experts to figure out what the term really means and to understand what can be done about it so that one can deal with it.

To define body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), in common layman’s terms, it can be stated that it is basically the disease of self-perceived ugliness. Further study reveals that this syndrome affects over 5 million Americans, including both women and men, almost equally. People who have been diagnosed with the disorder, are perceived to be very obsessive about their public persona, their appearance, and often most commonly emphasize on what they believe are personal imperfections about their eyelids, skin, nose, chin, ears, breasts and private parts.  The affected persons suffer from a very disturbed, distorted and poor self-image that is self-inflicted as most of these perceived imperfections, are typically not at all visible to the naked eye.

Seeking Professional Help

People react in different ways! Some patients seek assistance of cosmetic surgeons to alter their physical appearances before they understand the underlying psychological issues involved. There was a patient who had 100 procedures done on her with 17 plastic surgeries, before she became obsessed with yet another part of her body. Typically, after the surgery detail is completed, the patient is happy for a short while, and thereafter the focused attention moves to yet another body part or appearance. This is the typical pattern which goes on, repeating over and over again!

People living and coping with BDD often spend many hours (typically over 10) assessing and re-assessing their bodies in front of full-length mirrors while others may resort to avoiding all mirrors at any cost. It is seen that patients with severe BDD are obsessive and turn to close family and friends for constant reassurance.  A patient was late for her own 36th birthday party by several hours because she kept checking herself in the mirror while finishing her makeup until she felt that her makeup was gorgeous.

Difference between Low Self-esteem and BDD

The BDD condition stems from disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, often leading to others like anorexia nervosa. Symptoms vary from severe to mild, but finally what matters is whether or not an obsession which deals with your personal self-perception,  can affect your ability to be able to carry out routine everyday functions.

More than half of the human population is comfortable with the fact that they would indeed consider improving their personal appearance or when they look in the mirror in the morning they feel uncomfortable with what they see. But at the same time, they are able to live with it and it does not interfere with daily life.  But there are others, who are afflicted with BDD, enter into an endless, snowballing cycle of contrasting and comparing specific body parts with those of others and this affects their daily lives.

Experts view BDD as an internal monster, moving from one body part to another and confirm that the danger in not ignoring professional help, often results in impulsive actions like suicidal thoughts or substance abuse. There are others who develop reclusive social patterns and are rendered into very socially timid people due to the disorder.

If afflicted with these symptoms, what do you do?

It is very important to seek out some professional help of people specializing in body dysmorphic disorders and is capable of treating it along with a psychiatrist who specializes in such treatments. It is not easy to take the first important step and identify that BDD is indeed affecting their daily life and face the situation not by ignoring the [problem but facing up to the challenges of professional treatment. Kim Kardashian West did so boldly and publicly, and this helps people take a first step for treatment.

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