It would distort our vision of the body: symptoms, origin, solutions… what is dysmorphophobia ?

It would distort our vision of the body: symptoms, origin, solutions... what is dysmorphophobia ?

La dysmorphophobie toucherait environ 2% de la population mondiale. KristinaJovanovic/Getty Images

Parfois, nos imperfections physiques peuvent devenir une obsession, nous poussant à nous scruter constamment dans le miroir, à nous comparer aux autres ou à chercher à les dissimuler. Lorsque ces imperfections sont en réalité invisibles pour les autres, on appelle ça de la dysmorphophobie.

Dysmorphophobia, or in English "body dysmorphia disorder" (BDD), is a pathological disorder characterized by excessive preoccupation with a physical defect or slight physical abnormality, but which is not noticeable to others.

This disorder affects around 2% of the world population, according to a study published in 2016, and it is women who are more affected. The singer Billie Eilish and the actress Megan Fox are among the public figures who have confided that they suffer from this disorder. The 'Transformers' star has spoken on this subject on several occasions, such as recently in the podcast "Call Her Daddy", or in 2023 in Sports Illustrated magazine. "I never see myself the way others see me. At no time in my life have I loved my body", she explained at the time.

What are the symptoms ?

Among the most common symptoms are camouflage by clothing, recurring visits to the mirror, resorting to cosmetic procedures, excessive grooming, seeking comfort, etc. Symptoms usually begin to appear during adolescence, when the body begins to change. But what are the causes of dysmorphobia ? There are no causes strictly speaking, but certain factors such as social networks and their quest for ideal beauty, the presence of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in family, or low self-esteem can largely contribute.

Where does this trouble come from ?

This disorder could come from a brain abnormality. "Researchers have determined that the brains of people suffering from body dysmorphia, a psychiatric disorder that causes them to falsely believe that they are disfigured and ugly, exhibit anomalies in the processing of visual data when it comes to examining their own face", explains a study published in 2010. & quot;Furthermore, they found that the same brain systems are overactive in body dysmorphic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, suggesting the existence of a link between the two".

What are the solutions ?

For people suffering from dysmorphophobia, it is recommended to consult a specialized psychologist to benefit from the necessary follow-up. Indeed, dysmorphophobia is often associated with shame, self-loathing and can lead to social suffering, withdrawal into oneself, or even, in the long term, depression. Talking to loved ones can also be beneficial for gaining emotional support.

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