Tackling body image

Body dysmorphic disorder, also called body dysmorphia or dysmorphic syndrome, is a mental disorder characterized by a fixation with a defect in a person’s physical appearance, according to Psychology Today.

“These small insecurities just take over their lives,” sophomore Julia Boettger said.

These physical “defects” can be from any trait, large or small.

“People with BDD can dislike any part of their body, although they often find fault with their hair, skin, nose, chest or stomach,” according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website.

“In reality, a perceived defect may be only a slight imperfection or nonexistent,” according to the site.

Those who suffer from the disorder may use compulsive or repetitive behavior as a means of covering up or improving their flaws.

This may include constantly checking mirrors, skin picking, excessive grooming, excessive exercise or camouflaging with certain body positions, makeup, loose clothing or hats, according to the association.

“Mirrors show and tell us so much, but we choose to focus on just one thing. I’m not sure where all of that insecurity comes from. Maybe it’s Instagram. You don’t have any filters when you’re looking in a mirror,” sophomore Christopher Lopez said.

Students like sophomore Spencer Needham said they see how this could affect an individual’s life.

“I can imagine this disorder would absolutely screw your social life. I guess you wouldn’t want to go out with your friends and you’d probably stop doing the things that you love,” Needham said.

Boettger said she recommends that people struggling with this disorder seek professional help.

“In the long run, whatever advice I could give someone wouldn’t be stronger than the thoughts in their heads, so it’s important that these people go seek help before it spirals,” she said.

If you’ve ever fretted over a zit, or wished you had straighter teeth, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have body dysmorphic disorder.

We all have things about ourselves we aren’t crazy about. Just like many other psychological illnesses, the moment it becomes dysfunctional is when it’s time to seek professional help.