Posted on December 13th, 2010, by admin

Many people with BDD never breathe a word to others about their appearance concerns—largely because they’d be much too embarrassed to mention them. As a college student said about her face, “People must notice it’s long, but I haven’t asked. I’d be much too embarrassed! And if people said they didn’t notice it, I wouldn’t believe them anyway. I’d think they were just trying to be nice.”
But about half of people with BDD question others about how they look. Often, this consists of requests for reassurance: “Do I look okay?” “Is the problem noticeable?” The purpose is to allay anxiety and be reassured that the supposed defect isn’t as bad or as noticeable as feared.
Some BDD sufferers instead try to convince others of the reality or ugliness of the defect. A question isn’t asked; rather, a statement is made. “Can’t you see this on my face?” “Can’t you see I’m ugly?” A third variation on the theme is repeated requests for help in improving the defect—for example, questions about how to straighten “excessively curly” hair, or repeated requests for cosmetic surgery.
Kevin, who was preoccupied with his “large” lips, “small” legs, and “sparse” body hair, asked his mother 5 to 10 times a day whether he looked okay. “I need to know I look decent, so I ask my mother, ‘How do you think I look?’ I call my friends and ask them too, and I have huge phone bills because of it. They always say I look fine. Sometimes I feel better, and sometimes I don’t. When I’m feeling really bad, I think they’re just trying to be nice.”

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