Body dysmorphia or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition in which a person experiences consistent anxiety about a perceived defect in their physical appearance. In other words, body dysmorphia is a relatively common mental health condition marked with an invasive and persistent fixation on perceived bodily flaws or defects.
People with body dysmorphia may worry about any part of their body, though the face and hair are the usual areas of concern. Some may seem anxious that they have uneven lips, crooked smiles, or other features they consider lacking. Others might fear that their whole appearance is unacceptable.
Body dysmorphia can take a substantial toll on an individual’s day-to-day activities, affecting their relationships, work, and education. They might find it challenging to be in social gatherings because of worries about comparing themselves to others or drawing attention to their appearance. They may even give up activities they enjoy because of their insecurities
If you know someone struggling with BDD, understand that it can be tough to know how to support, help, or what you should say to them. Still, there are some things you can do to support them. Some of the things are;
- Be a good listener by talking with them. This is because people with BDD find it difficult to admit their condition and share their thoughts and feelings in most cases, probably because they find them shaming. You should know that talking is the first step in trying to support them; hence you should do your best to be there for them.
- Support them in their self-help practices simply by accompanying them to their therapists or to their self-help sessions. This can be worthwhile.
- Avoid getting involved in debates regarding appearance issues. Also, encourage them not to be involved in such arguments or whatsoever.
- Try to accept their feelings, and most importantly, understand that their feelings are tough to cope with. Though you might not see what they see, you should know that their feelings regarding their appearance are very real to them. Don’t judge them as being narcissistic.
- Assist in their search for treatment and support by being there for them. You can also do small things for them to show your love and care.