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Many people are insecure about their body and their body image. Most of mainstream media, advertising and the fashion industry makes a point of making sure that is so. Though some authorities argue that the media and the fashion industry don’t have an actual effect on the way people feel about themselves, most other mental health professionals disagree. Women and young girls, for example, receive thousands upon thousands of “messages” regarding beauty, fashion, and appearance. All of those messages say things like “You could be better with this product” which is really saying “You aren’t good enough”. It takes awareness and discipline to grow out of being affected by these messages and realizing the lengths these industries go to create insecurity.

Body dysmorphic disorder is not about insecurity, however, at the core. BDD, as it is referred to, is a disordered way of viewing the self and the body of the self. Insecurity plays a part, but it is not an obsession with insecure feelings and a need to control. Body dysmorphic disorder is having a warped vision of one’s own body to an extent that it interferes with their ability to live a normal life.

Body-checking is the most common and least invasive sign of BDD. Body checking is a practice where someone routinely looks in a mirror, touches their body, or visually examines a part of themselves. Typically, these parts will be that person’s “problem” parts, or the parts they feel are the most flawed. Body dysmorphic disorder becomes extreme and potentially life threatening when this chronic body-checking results in behaviors that are dangerous.

Plastic surgery addiction is an extreme form of body dysmorphic disorder. Unable to see the normalcy, perfection, or acceptability of one’s own physical self, many go under the knife to make “corrections”. Since what they see in the mirror is never good enough to them, they continue undergoing procedures, drastically altering their natural state. Eating disorders are commonly co-occurring with body dysmorphic disorder as a way to try to attempt the “perfect” look that is misconstrued in the mind. Even getting to dangerously low weights through dangerous means is not enough.