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22 Mar 2019, Edition - 1347, Friday

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Coimbatore

Are you suffering from Dysmorphic Disorder? Find out…

Indrani Thakurata

A recent post by a Facebook friend read, “These days, no celeb can be one, if they haven’t battles depression or some unknown anxiety.” In all humour, the post was directed towards the recent confession by Actress Ileana D’Cruz who has battled depression and a disorder called Dysmorphic Disorder. When I heard it for the first time, I had no clue what that meant. When i asked Clinical Psychologist Dr Anupama Verma, she retorted with “Not everyone knows about every disorder and that’s fine.” Had the article not talked about this star who had battled it, we wouldn’t have bothered even googling it. But that’s the truth, celebs drive us. According to the NHS definition, Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance. Explaining the same, Dr Anupama Verma says “Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental disorder in which the sufferer gets intensely obsessed with perceived or minor imperfections in appearance.”

And that’s exactly what the actress was quoted saying. ‘I was this very self-conscious, shy person once I hit my teens. So, I was constantly picked on for my body type. The obsession started when I was about 15; my entire goal was to make sure I was accepted by everyone. I think that is what I wanted the most. I never got it. I was always like the wallflower. I didn’t even know I had a body disorder. So, when I started off with acting, it made things a little more worse.’

Who would imagine such a gorgeous looking women having issues with her body and features. And one often relates to depression with the downtrodden, deprived, but the most affluent and the beautiful can go through emotions that makes them feel worthless about their life. ‘I never expected to be someone who’d be dealing with anxiety, dealing with depression. I’ve got every possible thing I could want,’

How would you know you are suffering from one and who is more susceptible to it?

“People with this disorder stay emotionally distressed about their ‘flaw’, frequently examine their appearance in a mirror, constantly compare their appearance with others, avoid social situations or photos and may want to try cosmetic corrections. People with severe BDD may have suicidal thoughts or even attempt it,” says Dr Anupama Verma. “Dysmorphic disorder can be observed in people who have undergone severe emotional disturbances for a long time in their life and people with low esteem. They may feel defect and dislike in any of their body parts like skin, hair, chest, nose, etc,” says Sailaja Vissamsetti Msc Psychology, FMCC, PGDFDR, Counselor, Social Awareness Trainer Sahaja, Life Style Designers.

It is believed that BDD is significantly underdiagnosed and often misdiagnosed. “Many don’t know about the Dysmorphic disorder as they commonly consider this as anxiety disorders such as depression, social anxiety disorder, and eating disorders or obsessive disorder,” says Sailaja Vissamsetti. So next time someone talks about similar issues, you know how to help them.

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