This Article is About
body dysmorphic disorder
feelings of inadequacy
suicide attempts
classic signs
strange clothing
physical appearance
three quarters
food intake
How Body Dysmorphic Disorder And Food Restriction Can Become A Dangerous Combination
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How Body Dysmorphic Disorder And Food Restriction Can Become A Dangerous Combination

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental condition that makes people think there is something wrong with their physical appearance whether it is a flaw on their skin, their body's shape or a combination of issues. To combat their feelings of inadequacy, they may start using too much makeup or wearing strange clothing combinations to hide the flaws that they think they have. They might obsess about one issue to the point of seeking out cosmetic surgery to correct the problem. They might also think about dieting, often taking it to such an extreme that they may develop an eating disorder in response. With some cases, steroid abuse and over exercising may result. But, new research has linked BDD with an increased risk of something even more dangerous.

According to a new report which has been published in the journal Suicide and Life Threatening Behaviors, people who have body dysmorphic disorder and engage in dieting, including extreme food restriction diets, are at a risk of suicide attempts that is two times higher than that of the general public. Roughly one quarter of those people who have BDD admit to at least one attempt at suicide in their lifetime with others admitting to more than one attempt in the past. But, even more troubling, three quarters of those people also admitted to the researchers that they did not think that their lives were worth living any longer.

Dr. Katharine A. Philips, MD, who works with Rhode Island Hospital is the lead researcher and author of the study's paper. Her study looked at slightly more than two hundred men and women who had been diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder. All age ranges from teen to sixties were represented in the study. Interviews revealed that a high number of those people had at least one serious attempt at suicide in their past, with some listing multiple attempts.

Philips cautions that anyone who exhibits the classic signs of BDD who starts restricting food intake or discussing dieting should be evaluated for suicide risk for their own safety. It is estimated that BDD of some level affects roughly two percent of the US population, twice that of the numbers for anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. It typically develops before the age of eighteen, however, there have been cases of people who are much older being diagnosed. Unlike other eating disorders, it tends to strike both males and females equally.


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