Today you don’t need to be on a billboard or in a magazine to change your appearance — anyone can do it online with filters and editing apps. So experts are asking what effect that has on people with BDD, a condition in which people think there’s something wrong with their physical appearance.
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You can completely alter your online image from the one staring back at you in the mirror. But that disconnect, the gap between real flesh and blood human to modified, idealized online persona, is starting to have an effect on how we see ourselves.
And researchers are asking more questions about what these digital manipulations are doing to our perception of our bodies and self-image IRL. A growing number of studies show that social media can have a measurable negative impact on body image and self esteem.
Some studies suggest that scrolling through altered photos, videos, and filters on social media feeds has also been found to be a trigger for more serious mental health conditions like anorexia, bulimia and body dysmorphic disorder.
Body dysmorphic disorder, BDD, is a condition in which people think there’s something very wrong with their physical appearance. People with BDD obsess about these perceived imperfections. It’s not just a fleeting thought, or a few minutes a day. They think about it and worry about it a lot, typically between three and eight hours a day.
And unfortunately, there’ve only been a handful of nationwide studies into how common BDD is in the general population. But these early studies reveal startling numbers–it’s estimated that BDD affects close to 2 to 3 percent of the population, that’s somewhere between 5 to 10 million people in the U.S. alone.
#womenshealth #BDD #bodydysmorphicdisorder #wellness #seeker
The complicated truth about social media and body image
That being said, using social media does appear to be correlated with body image concerns. A systematic review of 20 papers published in 2016 found that photo-based activities, like scrolling through Instagram or posting pictures of yourself, were a particular problem when it came to negative thoughts about your body.
Conformity to masculine norms and symptom severity among men diagnosed with muscle dysmorphia vs. body dysmorphic disorder
One BDD subtype is muscle dysmorphia (MD). There are limited data on the prevalence of MD; however, one study found 22% of men diagnosed with BDD met criteria for MD . MD is described as a preoccupation with the thought that one is not muscular enough, coupled with a pervasive fear of muscle loss .
Isolation, Zoom calls amid coronavirus worsen body dysmorphic disorder symptoms for some
Amal and Joseph’s shared diagnosis also foregrounds what is perhaps one of the most misunderstood aspects of BDD: It is a spectrum disorder, meaning that although people who experience it can share feelings of shame, self-loathing and emotional distress over nonexistent or minimal defects, their BDD can manifest to different degrees.
Editor’s Note: At Seeker, we recognized that people of many genders and identities have vaginas and uteruses, and are affected by the topics that fall into women’s health. For this episode, we interviewed experts who generally referred to people with vaginas and uteruses as women.
Body Language is Seeker’s latest series diving into the world of women’s health, and their bodies. For so long, the medical field only used men to conduct research, creating a gap in terms of what we know about women’s bodies. So in this series, we’ll be talking to experts to get a better understanding of some of these issues, and what we actually know about them. So join us as we discover how incredibly cool the female body is and how much more we still have to learn about it.