Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
This is an obsession with a perceived defect in the sufferer's body
or appearance. The most common manifestation of this is muscle dysmorphia
(or bigorexia), where the person believes that they are underweight
and puny when the opposite is true. Other common areas of dissatisfaction
are facial features.
Muscle dysmorphia tends to affect bodybuilders and avid gym-goers, and
more males than females since men are under more pressure to be toned
and muscular. It isn't in itself life-threatening, but sufferers are
at risk if they take muscle-increasing drugs such as steroids.
Preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance. If a slight
physical anomaly is present, the person's concern is markedly excessive.
The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment
in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
The preoccupation is not better accounted for by another mental
disorder (e.g. dissatisfaction with body shape and size in anorexia
The sufferer may become more and more withdrawn socially, often avoiding
contact with other people for fear of them noticing their 'defect'.
There is also the possiblitity that the sufferer will make comparisons
between themselves and their acquaintances.
In many cases, counselling can help individuals understand the causes
and break the cycle.