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  • What are the negative impacts of Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

    We’ve all felt a little insecure about our appearance from time to time. However, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is something different. When someone suffers from BDD, they have an intensely negative body image that impacts their mental health in a way that can make it difficult to function in their daily lives. In a previous article, we defined BDD as an intense preoccupation with a perceived flaw in appearance that causes significant distress. People with BDD often worry constantly about their appearance and try to alter or hide their perceived flaws. In this article we will continue our discussion of this devastating illness using the information shared by the Centre for Clinical Interventions (CCI).

    What are the negative impacts of BDD?

    Social and romantic relationships can be affected by BDD. If we are preoccupied by our appearance and worried that others will negatively judge us, then we might limit or outright avoid socializing or dating.

    Supportive relationships can be impacted by BDD. If too much of our time is spent worrying about our appearance or attempting to conceal or adjust our appearance, then we will not have enough time and energy to attend to our relationships with friends and family members. It can be difficult for friends and family to see someone they care about suffering due to BDD. It can also be challenging for friends and family to be continually asked for reassurance that seemingly goes unheard.

    BDD can impact work or study. The preoccupation and distress caused by BDD can be very time consuming making it difficult to complete work or school tasks by the assigned deadline.  It can also be difficult to maintain focus on important tasks while continually worrying or  attempting to hide our perceived flaws. Furthermore, BDD can lead people to avoid or limit their time spent in work or study areas making it difficult to be productive.

    Living with BDD can also make it very difficult to enjoy life. We might stop participating in activities we enjoy out of worry related to our appearance. We can withdraw from our friends and family. We can feel ashamed of our appearance and keep our worries secret in an attempt to avoid drawing attention to their perceived flaws.

    If you or someone you know is living with BDD, contact us to find out how CBT can help.

    Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and all over California.