Body Dysmorphic Disorder – Serious Condition or Not?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder – Serious Condition or Not?

What is it?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a medical condition in which an individual obsesses about a perceived flaw. One time or another we have all experienced this condition. Whether that be you looking yourself in the mirror or someone verbally saying negative things to you. I have experienced this mental disorder for almost my entire life and I occasionally get reminded of this condition.  But the question is, is this a serious medical condition or something that is just a result of feeling inadequate?

Media Portrayal

When you look in the mirror what do you see? Do you see a beautiful human being or do you think ‘I need some work’. If you think of the latter, then you are like the majority of the population. The problem lies when an individual takes these negative thoughts and does something extreme. The media portrays celebrities as the standard and everyone else follows suit like cows to the slaughter. I remember a news story showing a plus size model on the cover of a famous magazine only for it to be met with outrage. The most famous instance is when Cheryl Tiegs called a plus size model on the cover of a magazine ‘unhealthy’.  Well Cheryl, the definition of ‘beautiful’ does not have a weight restriction.

I don’t know about all of you but if you compare Cheryl Tiegs with Ashley Graham (the model on the cover), I would definitely choose Ashley.  What a lot of the general public does not understand is that most of these photos have been photoshopped. So we are comparing ourselves to people who don’t even look like like the picture!


For most people, body dysmorphia is a minor mental condition but for some it is much worse. The majority of the population think that they want to become healthier and lose a few pounds and some others take it to the extreme. Believe it or not, there are people who have an obsession training and working out in the gym. In a way, this is a form of body dysmorphia. Professional bodybuilders are one example. Even though exercise is known to have many health benefits, it is when exercising for 2-4 hours twice a day and taking illegal anabolic steroids that it is taken to another level. I realize that working out is part of a bodybuilders job, especially if they are a professional, but there have been many stories of bodybuilders meeting their demise as a result. The most famous story is that of Gregg Valentino. Also known as ‘The Man Who’s Arms Exploded’.

Gregg utilized a substance called Synthol, which is an oil based anabolic steroid which is injected directly into the muscle. The problem he had is when he reused the needles used for the injections which caused an infection. He has a hematoma in his arm and performed self-surgery on himself where he was able to easily fill multiple syringes with coagulated blood and pus. Now enough with the gross stuff, what can we do to prevent this?

What can I do?

If you are experiencing any form of body dysmorphic disorder, then there are several treatments. Depending on the severity of your condition, psychotherapy may be required. A study was done on BDD in the span of 4 years, with 6 month check ups. By applying psychotherapy to these patients, ‘16.7% of subjects were in full remission, 37.8% were in partial remission, and 45.6% met full criteria for BDD.’

If your condition is minor like the majority of the population, all that is required is for you to realize that you are perfect the way you are. You are unique and there is no one else in the world like you! Not only that but there will NEVER be anyone else like you! You were created in the image of God. So who cares if your not perfect? You may not be. You can’t be perfect for everyone, BUT you can be perfect for someone. And what that one person thinks, is all that matters!


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