Tuesday, May 8, 2012

OCD and I Look AWFUL! -Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

"I look AWFUL!" That is what I said many times as I was passing through my bedroom and got a glimpse of myself in the mirror, or any mirror for that matter. I remember thinking that looking at nyself was worse than the fright I got while watching a paranormal horror movie- the ghost that popped out onto the TV screen looked way better that me! Along with the shock of my reflection came unstoppable thoughts… “Is that a budge? My hair is a mess! Was that line there yesterday? My nails are horrible! I can never show my feet in public again! No matter how good I looked, I always seemed to pick out the one thing that wasn't perfect.

On and on it went for hours and sometimes days- debilitating overwhelming negative thoughts that just would not stop! I spent so much time stuck and obsessing that sometimes I didn’t even bother going where I was rushing to get to - getting ready became way too much of an effort because I knew that no matter what I did I would never look or feel right. I have wasted many days stuck in this mental torture, because along with OCD, I have been a victim of BDD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Although many people feel dissatisfied with some things about themselves, they usually don’t become obsessed with their appearance and their looks don't constantly occupy their thoughts or cause them to feel tormented. But people suffering with BDD Body Dysmorphic Disorder, concerns about appearance become extreme and upsetting.

Some people become so focused on imagined or minor imperfections in their looks that it overtakes their entire lives, and, if BDD escalates out of control, it can even cause them to commit suicide, as was the case with Nathaniel Asselin. Nathaniel’s father, Denis, is currently on a 487 mile walk from Pennsylvania to Boston in order to raise awareness of this crippling disorder. You can find out more about this by visiting the IOCDF website.
also, http://walkingwithnathaniel.org

More information on BDD you may find useful…

“What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a condition that involves obsessions, which are distressing thoughts that repeatedly intrude into a person's awareness. With BDD, the distressing thoughts are about perceived appearance flaws.

People with BDD might focus on what they think is a facial flaw, but they can also worry about other body parts, such as short legs, breast size, or body shape. Just as people with eating disorders obsess about their weight, those with BDD become obsessed over an aspect of their appearance. They may worry their hair is thin, their face is scarred, their eyes aren't exactly the same size, their nose is too big, or their lips are too thin.

BDD has been called "imagined ugliness" because the appearance issues the person is obsessing about usually are so small that others don't even notice them. Or, if others do notice them, they consider them minor. But for someone with BDD, the concerns feel very real, because the obsessive thoughts distort and magnify any tiny imperfection.
Because of the distorted body image caused by BDD, a person might believe that he or she is too horribly ugly or disfigured to be seen.”

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is defined as a preoccupation with an imagined defect in one’s appearance. This perception of ugliness prevents the individual from functioning in many areas of life. The preoccupation is associated with many time consuming rituals such as mirror gazing or constant complaining. Many people may have some complaints about their body or appearance, but those with BDD are severely impacted by those negative obsessions with their inaccurate perceptions. They often have needless dermatological treatment and cosmetic surgery. BDD individuals have a distorted body image, which may be associated with bullying or abuse during childhood or adolescence.

This condition is commonly trivialized and stigmatized. There is evidence for the benefit of cognitive behavior therapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in high doses for at least 12 weeks, as in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. There is no evidence of any benefit of antipsychotic drugs or other forms of psychotherapy. If you believe you or someone you know may have BDD, please seek professional help immediately. If left untreated, BDD can worsen over time and last a lifetime. Don’t let your life disintegrate. Get help before it’s too late.
 I found information about herbal supplements that may be useful in treating BDD, but I think they should be used only with the OK from a physician, as herbs have interactions to medicines and can have side effects…
“Herbal supplements have gained momentum over the past few decades in the United States and abroad. Partly due to skyrocketing medical and prescription costs and largely due to spreading knowledge about the unmatched effectiveness of many herbs, plants and natural remedies. There are however, many misconceptions about herbal remedies and what use they play. Seeing as there are countless herbs and plants that have been used for thousands of years, it can be puzzling to someone looking for a reliable alternative or supplement to their existing regiment. Here I will show you my top five herbal supplements that I both use and have received significant benefit from. These herbs help bring relief from such afflictions as depression, lethargy, weak immune system, stress and insomnia with little to no noticeable side effects.’ They are-
5-HTP,  Holy Basil, Ginseng, Valerian and Echinacea
Prescription medications to help BDD are basically the same ones that treat OCD…
  • “BDD is a physical condition which provokes emotional (psychological) responses. All drug protocols passed by the FDA for the treatment of OCD are serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as: Anafranil, Prozac, Luvox, Zoloft and Paxil.
  • Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. (a neurotransmitter is a substance that chemically connects one nerve ganglia impulse to another ganglia. A sufficient amount of serotonin also produces a soothing calming effect to brain activity.
  • The Serotonin reuptake inhibitor function is a way to increase the amount of available serotonin.
Another way is to increase the digestion of or the body's production of serotonin.

Other conditions possibly linked with insufficient serotonin are compulsive: Gamblers, Eaters, Sugar Addicts and Alcoholics, Anorexia Nervosa, Self- mutilation, Tourette's Syndrome and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (abnormal dislike for ones looks), Trichotillomania (pulling out your hair) and Hypochondria.’
I think this is useful information that I got from the Mayo Clinic website…

“Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can't stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don't want to be seen by anyone. Body dysmorphic disorder has sometimes been called "imagined ugliness."
When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, often for many hours a day. You may seek out numerous cosmetic procedures to try to "fix" your perceived flaws, but never will be satisfied. Body dysmorphic disorder is also known as dysmorphophobia, the fear of having a deformity.
Treatment of body dysmorphic disorder may include medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Symptoms are: Having a lot of anxiety and stress about the perceived flaw and spending a lot of time focusing on it, such as frequently picking at skin, excessively checking appearance in a mirror, hiding the imperfection, comparing appearance with others, excessively grooming, seeking reassurance from others about how they look, and getting cosmetic surgery.
Getting cosmetic surgery can make BDD worse. They are often not happy with the outcome of the surgery. If they are, they may start to focus attention on another body area and become preoccupied trying to fix the new "defect." In this case, some patients with BDD become angry at the surgeon for making their appearance worse and may even become violent towards the surgeon.
What is the treatment for BDD?
· Medications. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs are antidepressants that decrease the obsessive and compulsive behaviors.
· Cognitive behavioral therapy. This is a type of therapy with several steps:
1. The therapist asks the patient to enter social situations without covering up her "defect."
2. The therapist helps the patient stop doing the compulsive behaviors to check the defect or cover it up. This may include removing mirrors, covering skin areas that the patient picks, or not using make-up.
3. The therapist helps the patient change their false beliefs about their appearance.”

This is a really good article about 4 women with BDD- 


I hope this has given you an idea of BDD, an extremely complex disorder which seems to exist under the OCD umbrella. It seems the same things that help OCD work for BDD as well. I have found relief by eating foods with natural sources of serotonin, which are bananas, and turkey. Also, spirulina, flaxseed oil niacin and vitamin B6, and inoistol may also be of help. I hope no one has to endure the agony of BDD, but if you do, please get help and know - THERE IS HOPE!

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