Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental illness involving OBSESSIVE focus on a perceived flaw in one’s physical appearance that are either minor or not visible to others. It can cause significant distress and impair daily functioning, which can lead to behaviors such as excessive grooming and seeking excessive amounts of cosmetic procedures to “fix” perceived flaws.
People with body dysmorphia have an INTENSE preoccupation with perceived flaws or defects in their physical appearance, which can lead them to believe that they need to have cosmetic surgery to correct these perceived flaws. However, even after having one procedure, they may continue to feel dissatisfied with their appearance and seek additional surgeries. This can lead to a cycle of repeated surgeries and dissatisfaction, which can cause further distress and impair their daily functioning. While cosmetic surgery can help some people feel more confident and satisfied with their appearance, excessive surgery due to body dysmorphia can lead to serious health risks, including death. Excessive surgeries can lead to a range of physical health risks, such as infections, bleeding, and complications related to anesthesia. Excessive liposuction can lead to fluid imbalances, shock, and even death.
It is often difficult for the friends and family of a person with BDD to understand their obsession with cosmetic procedures. It is important to understand that excessive cosmetic procedures and surgeries can have psychological consequences, such as increased anxiety, depression and decreased self esteem. These psychological consequences can further worsen the symptoms of BDD, leading to a vicious cycle of more surgeries and psychological distress. Also, most loved ones of people with BDD do not recognize what’s truly happening psychologically because in public settings and on social media platforms, people with body dysmorphia appear to be very confident, and even viewed as conceited, however it is typical for people with body dysmorphia to actually suffer from a very low self esteem privately. Individuals with body dysmorphia may also struggle with perfectionism and an intense fear of rejection, which can contribute to the development of personality disorders.
It’s important to note that not everyone who has cosmetic surgery has body dysmorphia, and not everyone with body dysmorphia has cosmetic surgery. Body dysmorphia, depression, anxiety and personality disorders can be interrelated, with one condition potentially exacerbating the others.
For those with body dysmorphia, it’s important to seek professional help to address the underlying mental health condition, rather than relying solely on cosmetic procedures to address perceived flaws. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication can be effective treatments for body dysmorphia.