Katy spends hours each day in front of the mirror, focused on her nose. She applies and reapplies makeup several times before leaving the house, and checks herself in her car’s mirror again before driving to her destination.
She is never satisfied that her makeup hides her “ugly” nose. Throughout the day, she feels compelled to look in the mirror again and again, and has recurring thoughts that people are staring at her “hideous nose.” She has even consulted with several plastic surgeons, only to be told there is nothing cosmetically wrong.
She is currently on the search for yet another plastic surgeon who might take her seriously and agree to perform a rhinoplasty. Her family and friends are unable to see the “flaws” Katy claims are there, and she’s missed work and social events because of her unhappiness with her nose’s appearance.
Most people have certain parts of their appearance they are not happy with, but those with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), like Katy, take it to an extreme. People with BDD spend hours every day obsessing over “flaws” that are either very minor or non-existent. They are unable to control these negative thoughts, and are not reassured by others telling them that they look fine.
These thoughts cause severe emotional distress, and interfere with the person’s ability to function in daily life, as they need to constantly check their appearance and/or do something to try to “fix” the problem. As a result, people with BDD also often avoid going out in public in order to avoid perceived scrutiny. They fear that others will also notice the “flaws” and judge them for it.
Does that sound like your partner?