Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a commonly occurring psychological condition that is not easily diagnosed and apparently under diagnosed in South Africa. BDD is considered psychiatrically to be a somatoform disorder, or psychological disorder concerning ones body. However a great body of scientific evidence suggests that it is similar to OCD than other kinds of psychological conditions and should be considered an obsessional spectrum disorder. In other word lying on a continuum of ways in which an individual may develop obsessional thinking or thought processes and how these cause the person emotional distress and impairment in their lives.

An individual who has BDD  is concerned with body image, which  manifests as excessive concern about and preoccupation with a perceived defect of their physical features. The person may worry about a particular part of their body or face or a few different parts of their body or face. They check their body parts often, such as in mirrors, by feeling, and/or becoming aware of how others may be perceiving their feature(s).

almost 5% of all individuals seeking cosmetic surgery can be diagnosed as having BDD. These figures are also believed to be under reported. Many individuals who may have BDD find it very hard to seek treatment. They may be embarrassed or suffer from social anxiety because of their concerns about their appearance and body image. The individual may then withdraw and can even develop clinical depression.

Contrary to past belief BDD affects both women and men equally. There is effective treatment for this condition through either medication or cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).

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