Body Image: You Are What You See

Botox, Restilin, facelifts, mole removal, eyelash extensions, lip plumping, the procedures are endless, but for some no amount nip and tuck will ever make them feel better. Close to 1 to 2 percent of the population struggles with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

BDD is a serious condition where people obsess on a particular physical flaw. The doctors may say they are underweight, but ask an anorexic suffering from BDD and they may only be able to see the fat.  People with BDD may not want to look in the mirror, they may use clothes and makeup to cover up their flaws, they often times seek plastic surgery, and yet they never seem to feel pretty. Why? It’s not just that these patients are thinking about their body, it’s the side of the brain they are using to think about their body.  Dr. Jamie Feusner a psychiatrist out of UCLA conducted new research on BDD using an MRI brain scan.  The study concluded the BDD suffers used the left – more analytical side of their brain – then the control group when looking at pictures of a face. Whereas the right side of the brain is used for seeing the whole image in it’s entirety, the left side of the brain is used to pick things apart and scrutinize the details.

Is there a lesson to be learned in this for all of us with body image issues? Yes, the next time you catch yourself cursing a wrinkle, Google searching liposuction, or daydreaming about a smaller nose remember that you are probably hyper critiquing that body part. You can’t look through a microscope to see the world, so why would you look through a microscope to see yourself?

1 Comment

  • These people who are BDD needs help. I had a friend that is what I see in her as BDD, she was so down that it took many of her being a toll. She was once a girl with good image and body but after giving birth it does affect her stature. She now seldom comes to a gathering and has been out of reach. This must be overcome. I guess the answer to this is exercise. It takes some time though but it is worth a try.

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