Body Dysmorphic Disorder – Causes and Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a kind of somato form disorder, in which a person suffers from mental illness, but the symptoms cannot be explained by an actual disorder. When you suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, you may be intensely obsessed over appearance and body image. This disorder is also called dysmorphophobia or fear of having a deformity.

Causes of BDD
BDD is usually developed in adolescence, when young people are more sensitive about their appearance. Though the absolute cause of BDD is unknown, research shows that many factors may be involved. The factors that cause BDD include:

Genetic or Biological Factors

  • Chemical imbalance in the brain: When the serotonin levels are reduced then it results in BDD. Serotonin is one of the brain’s neurotransmitters that regulate anxiety and are involved in memory, mood and sleep functioning.
  • Genetic factors: Studies suggest that certain genes may play a role in developing BDD. Approximately, 20% of people suffering with this disorder have at least one first-degree relative like parent, child or sibling.
  • Brain Abnormalities: Magnetic resonance imaging studies have found that individuals suffering from this dysmorphic disorder have shown abnormalities in certain regions of the brain.
  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD): BDD often occurs with OCD because the patient who has a history of or genetic disposition to OCD, may make people more susceptible to BDD.

Psychological Problems
The psychological problems that cause Body dysmorphism include:

  • Teasing or criticism: When a person is criticized or teased regarding appearance, it can play a role in the onset of this disorder.
  • Parenting style: When parents place excessive emphasis on aesthetic appearance or disregard it at all, it may cause this disorder.
  • Environment: Experiences in life and environment may contribute to body dysmorphic disorder, especially if they include negative experiences about your body or self image.

Other factors:
There are certain factors that increase the risk of developing this condition. They include:

  • Expectations of beauty or societal pressure
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Peer pressure

The signs and symptoms of BDD include:

  • Preoccupied with your physical appearance
  • Frequent self examinations in the mirror
  • Frequent cosmetic procedures
  • Strong belief that there is an abnormality in their appearance that makes them ugly.
  • Believing that others are noticing your appearance in a negative way.
  • Excessive grooming like hair plucking
  • Refuses to appear or tries to avoid taking pictures of oneself
  • Avoiding social situations.
  • A feeling of extreme beauty consciousness
  • Skin picking
  • Wearing excessive make up or clothing to camouflage perceived flaws
  • Comparing your appearance with others

When to consult your medical health professional?
If you face the same situations or experience the same signs and symptoms, see your doctor or mental health provider for further treatment.

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