Do I Have BDD Or Am I Just Insecure?
It is impossible for a young person to move through his or her adolescence without experiencing bouts of insecurity surrounding his or her appearance. Body dysmorphia, however, extends beyond sporadic feelings of insecurity regarding one’s appearance. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a body-image disorder that is “characterized by persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one’s appearance.” It is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) under the new category called obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. The symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder can be debilitating and interfere with a teenager’s ability to function optimally in his or her daily life.
Signs and Symptoms
A teenager suffering from body dysmorphic disorder may experience a range of symptoms. The combination of symptoms and the severity of symptoms will vary, depending on each individual teen. To tell if a teenager is struggling with BDD, it is helpful to be aware of its signs and symptoms. Johns Hopkins Medicine provides several examples of common symptoms that may arise in a young person with body dysmorphic disorder, including:
- Easily embarrassed
- Excessive grooming
- Need for constant reassurance
- Obsessions with various parts of one’s physical body
- Low self-esteem
- Constantly hiding the area of the body that is thought to have physically defected
- Avoiding social situations
- Weight fluctuation
- Unhealthy diets
- Sleep disturbances
It can be difficult to distinguish between behaviors associated with typical teenage insecurities and those that may be indicative of body dysmorphic disorder. The effects of body dysmorphic disorder can have severe consequences and if left untreated can result in long-term damage to an adolescent’s self-esteem, social skills, school performance, and physical health. The exact cause for body dysmorphic disorder remains unknown. There are, however, many recovery options available for a young person struggling with body dysmorphic disorder.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life in, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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