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.
Signs and symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder include:
- Preoccupation with your physical appearance
- Strong belief that you have an abnormality or defect in your appearance that makes you ugly
- Frequent examination of yourself in the mirror or, conversely, avoidance of mirrors altogether
- Belief that others take special notice of your appearance in a negative way
- The need to seek reassurance about your appearance from others
- Frequent cosmetic procedures with little satisfaction
- Excessive grooming, such as hair plucking
- Extreme self-consciousness
- Refusal to appear in pictures
- Skin picking
- Comparison of your appearance with that of others
- Avoidance of social situations
- The need to wear excessive makeup or clothing to camouflage perceived flaws
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