Body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, is characterized by certain key and associated features, specifically preoccupying obsessions with a particular body part that the person considers unattractive. These preoccupying obsessions:
Cause a lot of psychological distress and torment,
Take up at least an hour a day and often more,
Interfere with social life, school, work and other major activities,
Cause the person to avoid certain situations, and
Are not solely related to preoccupations about weight or shape.
People with this condition often spend lots of time in front of mirrors, checking out the part of the body with which they are obsessed and/or grooming to fix its appearance — or they learn to avoid mirrors in order to escape being trapped by their obsessions. They often camouflage it, hide it and avoid being in social situations where others might notice. Their families or friends are often affected by having to reassure the person or contend with the impact of the person’s BDD related behaviors.
Several other psychiatric conditions may produce somewhat similar signs and symptoms. Some of these conditions may actually occur with BDD, whereas others are less likely to do so.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) — is associated with preoccupations, obsessions and compulsive behaviors. Many authorities see BDD and OCD as closely related conditions. Both BDD and OCD respond to similar serotonin-reuptake inhibitor, or SRI, medications in the same dose range and to similar cognitive-behavior therapy treatments.
Classical OCD differs from BDD by often having nonappearance related obsessions involving fear of contamination, a need for order and symmetry involving objects, counting rituals and/or touching compulsions. People with OCD almost invariably know that their obsessions don’t make sense, whereas many with BDD believe, at least partly, that their preoccupations are truly justified. People with BDD believe there really is something sufficiently wrong with their bodies to justify their concerns.
Delusional disorder is characterized by fixed, unshakable, unrealistic ideas. Some patients with BDD hold on to their distorted body ideas with the same degree of unshakable belief that characterizes delusional patients. They seem to have no doubt, awareness or insight into the possibility that their body ideas are totally false and unjustified.
Every person should learn basic first aid methods. You never realize when you might need them – you and your loved one might be at home, at work, on holiday, at school.