What You Need to Know About Body Dysmorphic Disorder

body dysmorphic 451016909A person stands in front of the mirror and glances at their reflection; they perceive their image to be severely unattractive or obese.  They become obsessed with a particular body part and deem it to be an extreme defect that alters their appearance. While this is their perception, in reality no one else sees these physical characteristics.

There is a possibility that this person may be suffering from a chronic body-image disorder known as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which is a compulsive obsession with an imagined or exaggerated physical trait that often no one else can see.

BDD is known to occur in both men and women and usually begins during teenage years or early adulthood.  Factors that may contribute to the development of BDD are

  • Low self-esteem
  • Traumatic events
  • Genetics
  • The influence of others who are critical of the person’s physical appearance

Characteristics of the disorder may include an obsession with skin imperfections such as scars or wrinkles, facial features (it is very common for those afflicted with BDD to be obsessed with size of the nose), body weight and hair. There are several behaviors that are identifiable with BDD, they are:

  • Constantly looking in the mirror and trying to cover up the perceived defect
  • Asking for reassurance that the defect is not obvious
  • Isolation from people due to the belief that imperfections will be noticed
  • Becoming increasingly self-conscious
  • Avoiding mirrors
  • Excessive grooming in an effort to cover up a flaw
  • Frequently consulting plastic surgeons or undergoing cosmetic procedures
  • Developing other psychological disorders such as eating and anxiety disorders

If someone you know is exhibiting these behaviors, it is recommended that they seek help immediately as this disorder can lead to self-harm. Once diagnosed with BDD, treatment will usually include a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, group or family therapy and medication. For more information about body dysmorphic disorders or treatment please contact Jamaica Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry at 718 206 5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Binge Eating?

BingeEat2.516509191Most of us have overeaten at some point in our lives and felt guilty immediately afterward. It usually happens at a holiday gathering or at one of your favorite restaurants, but what if it happens regularly? Consistently eating large amounts of food at once, and feeling upset after doing so can be considered a binge eating disorder (BED).

A binge is when you consume a large portion of food in a short amount of time – as much as 20,000 calories at once. BED is not the same as bulimia, another eating disorder that involves eating a great deal of food in a short period of time. People with bulimia are very concerned with their body image and attempt various methods to avoid gaining weight, including vomiting, taking diet pills or laxatives, or exercising too much. Those with BED, however, are not concerned with excess weight and therefore do not participate in these compensatory behaviors. For this reason, people with BED are often overweight or obese.

Characteristics of BED include: eating until uncomfortably full, eating when not physically hungry, eating alone, or waking up at night to eat. Binge eaters are usually excited while planning a binge and are frightened of being caught. After a binge, they feel a range of emotions including guilt, shame, disgust, self-loathing, or general numbness.

Binge eating may arise out of stress and an inability to deal with emotions, boredom, depression, or outbursts of hostility. It is very important to recognize binge eating disorder in its early stages and seek treatment before it leads to other health problems, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, or heart disease. Therapy sessions can help the individual deal with these psychological aspects of binge eating disorder.

If you exhibit binge eating behavior, it’s important that you seek professional help. This kind of eating will lead to increased weight gain, low self-image and other related health issues. To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Mental Health Clinic, please call 718-206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.