The toxic diet culture has resulted in an exponential rise in individuals suffering from body dysmorphia. The media plays a paramount role in causing this psychiatric disorder.
According to Dr John Mayer, a clinical psychologist: “Body Dysmphormic Disorder (BDD) is a pervasive perception that your body is different and more negative appearing than the actual facts, no matter how many times you are presented with the facts.”
People with body dysmorphia spend hours a day obsessing over real or imagined flaws and take excessive and sometimes drastic measures to hide their perceived flaws from others.
Body features that people with BDD commonly fixate on include body shape, breast size, muscle size (bigorexia), facial features, skin & veins, genitalia and hair.
• obsessing over your body flaws, real or perceived
• social anxiety
• trouble focusing on things other than the flaws
• obsessive mirror checking or dodging mirrors altogether
• compulsive behaviors such as excoriation and frequent changing of clothes
• a strong belief that you have a defect in your physical appearance that makes you ‘ugly’ or deformed
• believing that others take particular note of your appearance negatively or ridicule you
Like other psychological disorders, body dysmorphia is likely caused due to a combination of biological, environmental, neurological and genetic factors. Risks of developing the disorder are heightened if an individual suffers from other psychiatric disorders such as depression or anxiety.
Body dysmorphia often goes by noticed or undiagnosed either because people are too ashamed to admit their bodies’ insecurities and concerns or because they fail to realize that their obsession is in fact a psychiatric disorder and to act and feel the aforementioned ways is not ‘normal’.
The Toxic Diet Culture
Related to body dysmorphia, another phenomenon is the toxic diet culture that has, unfortunately, become the standard for almost every other person around us.
Diet Culture is a societal belief system that equates health to thinness, promoting unrealistic body ideals under the semblance of ‘healthy living’ and what is ‘desired’. This notion is deeply embedded in almost all societies across the globe and has thereof resulted in the toxic celebration of limited and disciplined eating and cultural praise for weight loss.
The diet industry is consequently thriving off and profiting from individuals’ insecurities. They promote body-dissatisfaction by claiming to ‘fix’ your appearance. Moreover, to adapt to the facts, the dieting industry camouflages it’s psychologically damaging campaigns through claims of ‘healthier lifestyles’.
Henceforth, people only believe they should lose weight because of the fatphobic message society is sending them.
Body Dysmorphia is a psychological disorder that requires treatment. Please do not take
it lightly; anyone who believes they have BDD must seek immediate medical attention.