Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a distinct mental disorder in which a person has symptoms of a medical illness, but the symptoms cannot be fully explained by an actual physical disorder. People with BDD are preoccupied with an imagined physical defect or a minor defect that others often cannot see. As a result, people with this disorder see themselves as "ugly" and often avoid social exposure to others or turn to plastic surgery to try to improve their appearance.
This fall, USA Network will air the 100th episode of the hit detective series, Monk. “It should be a lot of fun,” says actor Tony Shalhoub, 54, who has played the title character for seven seasons. “Especially because Monk really likes the number 100.”
Adrian Monk, for those not in the know, is a warm and brokenhearted detective who has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a mental illness with specific traits that Shalhoub says are not all that hard for him to identify with. Brilliant crime fighter...
People with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) have recurring and distressing thoughts, fears, or images (obsessions) that they cannot control. The anxiety (nervousness) produced by these thoughts leads to an urgent need to perform certain rituals or routines (compulsions). With BDD, a person's preoccupation with the defect often leads to ritualistic behaviors, such as constantly looking in a mirror or picking at the skin. The person with BDD eventually becomes so obsessed with the defect that his or her social, work, and home functioning suffers.
BDD is a chronic (long-term) disorder that affects men and women equally. It usually begins during the teen years or early adulthood.
The most common areas of concern for people with BDD include:
Skin imperfections: These include wrinkles, scars, acne, and blemishes.
Hair: This might include head or body hair or absence of hair.
Facial features: Very often this involves the nose, but it also might involve the shape and size of any feature.
Body weight: Sufferers may obsess about their weight or muscle tone.
Other areas of concern include the size of the penis, muscles, breasts, thighs, buttocks, and the presence of certain body odors.
What Are the Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
Some of the warning signs that a person may have BDD include:
Engaging in repetitive and time-consuming behaviors, such as looking in a mirror, picking at the skin, and trying to hide or cover up the perceived defect
Constantly asking for reassurance that the defect is not visible or too obvious
Repeatedly measuring or touching the perceived defect
Experiencing problems at work or school, or in relationships due to the inability to stop focusing about the perceived defect
Feeling self-conscious and not wanting to go out in public, or feeling anxious when around other people
Repeatedly consulting with medical specialists, such as plastic surgeons or dermatologists, to find ways to improve his or her appearance