Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Maya stood before the mirror staring at her face, specially at her nose. While the whole program of English Hons of which she was part of;considered her as the most beautiful, Maya had other preoccupations. Some days she felt her nose to be overly pointed and on others she found it to be big, fat nose. There were also days when she found herself too ugly. Sometimes it was her face, sometimes it was her hips or sometimes the whole body. Wearing body hugging tight dresses, she always attempted to thin out her body……..
Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be thought of as a serious reflection of today’s society. In this age of social media wherein people especially of the younger generation love to show around each and every detail of their daily lives, preoccupation with oneself might not be a surprising thing. There is an exaggerated importance to the self lingering on the dangerous side. How one looks, eats, wears, behaves….the list goes on. The debates regarding fat shaming, fair skin obsession etc have started coming up finally and it becomes important that we understand Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is described by psychologists as being preoccupied with defect in one’s appearance. The perceived defect might be exaggerated on the sufferer’s part and might be bothersome for the sufferer. They are in constant self-doubt regarding their appearance and might even perceive others to be constantly rating them on how one looks, and also laughing at them. Because of the paranoia about being judged by others, people suffering from body dysmorphic disorder might even avoid engaging in social settings of all sorts and be locked up at their homes; engaging in compulsive behaviors such as checking oneself constantly before the mirror, spending money on plastic surgeries, extreme dieting patterns, excessive exercising etc. The language might suddenly change in terms of preoccupied with discussing either about their body or about others’; thus making constant comparisons. As in all other mental conditions, here too such a preoccupation starts affecting a person’s social, personal, occupational life.
Verbal abuse and constant criticism regarding appearance can also make way for such conscious preoccupations. Stereotypes regarding how a woman or a man should look can reinforce negative behavior of calling out names and make a person behave in ways not usually comfortable with him/her. In current times, various research studies have proved how boys have also started to be hugely conscious with his/her body structure; spending hours in the gym etc. Such an obsession and behavior can prove to lead the emerging generation to develop mindsets not good for their physical and mental health. It is important that we try, inculcate and reinforce ideas of beauty which allows an individual to love himself/herself.