Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
A mental disorder in which an individual obsesses about their appearance, flaws & defects.
1 in 50 of the general population is suffering with BDD, with 2.5% being men. Most people have certain flaws or body characteristics they might not like. They attend to these minor issues spending some time covering that flaw with makeup, clothing, or a simple cosmetic surgery. However, men with BDD are consumed by their thoughts 24/7 and go to the extreme. Their first thoughts in the morning, to their final reflections moments before falling asleep, can be consumed with negative comments to themselves.
Cue in “Bigorexia” a side relation to BDD in men, mostly focusing on the visible amount & size of their muscles. Men with BX put working out first above career, family & friends. Men with BX often are the ones that cram in “that” one more workout (hours-long workouts seem to never be enough), set unrealistic goals & tend to not have any inner peace or joy. BX consumes their thoughts most of the day to the point of depression & anxiety. Other characteristics may also include:
*Continues to train even with injuries
*Over use of supplements
*Camouflage clothing to make them look bigger
*Constant visual body measuring in mirror
The development of an eating disorder is also common with men with BDD & BX. Constant diet changes and fads to reach their unrealistic size or visible worth, often leads to depression. This depression leads to binge eating, and the aggressive diet cycle thus repeats. The next step is sometimes surgery. Men with BDD & BX sometimes go that extra step to attain the perfect size. They get calf/pec implants, laser fat removal, and more recently glute injections. Still the self unacceptance consumes their thoughts.
“You can be a poster child for Ethiopian kids” – Doris K*
A link between early life bullying and BX often is prevalent. As someone who was taunted by family members & peers (*Doris, to a 13 y/o Lee), I understand this to be true. Some people don’t care to understand how their words and actions impacts a developing human. Physical and mental abuse distorts a young growing brain & can cause long term or permanent effects. There are ways to treat BDD and BX. Therapy, antidepressants, and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) are helpful treatments. If you deal with BDD or think you might struggle with some of the symptoms, consult your physician. You are not alone and shouldn’t feel embarrassed to seek helpful ways to deal with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Lee Gonzalez 💪🏼