North Central State College
This paper was prepared for Honors Abnormal Psychology (PSYC2050) Fall Semester taught by Bill Lewis.
The Trouble with Being a Rose: Body Dysmorphic Disorder In a land of flowers each beautiful and perfect in their own way an exceptional few meet all the criteria to be a rose. A rose can be nothing less than a rose and is judged to this standard with its thorns ignored. All the other flowers are compared to the rose. The rose’s appearance is held as a sign of perfection for the entire garden to see… This analogy is representative of our society, culture and the pressures that social media play in our everyday lives.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is when an individual obsesses about key characteristics’ involving how they look (Nevid, Rathus & Greene, 2014). This could be a preset or imagined defect that no one else sees, that is taken out of proportion by the individual. The individual is consumed by this defect and it causes them a tremendous amount of personal distress and affects their ability to function (Nevid et al., 2014, p.191). The exaggerated flaw the individual sees themselves as having leaves the individual feeling repulsive and disfigured. These delusions cause intense anxiety and fear that others will avoid them, judge them or humiliate them because of their perceived disfigurement (Nevid et al., 2014, p.191).
Buhlmann and Winter (2004) state that frequent symptoms that are typically shown by individuals diagnosed with BDD are: the need for constant reassurance from peers, continually comparing one’s appearance to others, exhibiting abnormal behavior around mirrors or reflective surfaces, attempts at camouflaging their defects; this could be using hats or clothes to hid unwanted areas of the body or using excessive amounts of makeup, and ritualistic behaviors that the person performs to relive anxiety that consume excessive amounts of their time such as excessive grooming or skin picking (as cited in American Psychiatric Association,2000).
Parts of the body that are common for an individual with BDD to focus on are: wrinkles, moles, facial asymmetry, body asymmetry, skin blemishes, swelling of the face, pores, nose, and hair (Nevid et al., 2014, p.191).
For an individual to be meet the criteria to be diagnosed with BDD Buhlmann and Winter (2004) state that the individual’s condition must be sufficiently severe enough to cause a decline in their social, occupational or educational areas of functioning, that cannot be attributed to another form of mental illness (as cited in American Psychiatric Association,2000). The ritualistic behaviors must last between 3-8 hours a day for this diagnosis to apply (Nevid et al., 2014, p.191). Individual’s that are diagnosed with BDD have a higher percentage for comorbidity especially for various forms of: depression, social phobias, agoraphobia, and OCD (Nevid et al., 2014, p.191).
Veal (2004) States that many BDD patients turn toward plastic surgery for help in fixing their appearance believing it will ease their anxieties. Individuals that are refused or cannot afford the high costs of cosmetic surgery often attempt the desired procedure themselves. This can lead to death, serious disfigurement, health problems, infections, hospitalization and suicide attempts (as cited in Psychiatric Bull, (2000). In documented cases Veal found that individuals have attempted their own liposuction with unsterile homemade equipment, used a pair of pliers in an attempt to thin out their nose, have filed down their teeth, and have used sellotape to flatten their nose or have stuffed their nose with tissue in an attempt to make it appear more curved (as cited in Psychiatric Bull, (2000). Veal also noted that Skin stapling and using sand paper to remove facial scars are among other