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Topic : 07/04 Body Dysmorphia

Number of Replies: 289
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Created on : Friday, October 26, 2007, 02:52:19 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

(Original Air Date: 10/30/07) When most women gaze in the mirror, they may bemoan a blemish here or a wrinkle there. Imagine staring at your reflection for over two hours and hating your face so much that you never leave the house. Dr. Phil’s guests say they are prisoners to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a preoccupation with a real or imagined physical defect. Diana, 28, has been suffering with BDD for over 13 years. She’s undergone over 50 permanent make-up procedures –- eye liner, lips and eyebrows –- and didn’t leave her home for two years because she thinks she looks like a monster. Her mother, Guadalupe, and her sister, Liz, say it’s painful to watch Diana deteriorate before their eyes. Find out the shocking event Diana believes caused her condition. Then, 17 year-old Cheyenne used to win beauty pageants, but now believes that she’s an ugly, overweight girl with thunder thighs. She takes several hours to get ready for school in the morning, and constantly picks at her arm hair and lips. Her mom, Bobette, wonders if she’s the cause of her daughter’s bad feelings. Does Cheyenne really have BDD, or is something else affecting her? Share your thoughts here.

Find out what happened on the show.

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October 30, 2007, 4:17 pm CDT

Body Dysmorphia is VERY real!

Hello everyone,


I decided to join this discussion board after watching todays episode on BDD. My best friend (also my cousin) has been suffering with BDD for the past 4 years or so. It is by far the most HORRIFIC disorder I have ever seen. I have watched her over the years go from being an outgoing, loud, brass, confident young lady (basically her whole life until she was 21 or so).... to this poor woman that can barely leave her house. She had a steady job at an insurance company for years, then one day.... she left for lunch and NEVER went back. Now years later, she still hasn't been able to work. It is absolutely devastating to see her go through this. Unfortunately, no matter how much I try to help.... I myself still have a hard time coping with her disorder. I find myself wanting to say... "come on lets go out... its not that bad" and in reality it's killing her inside. She has never had any cosmetic surgery, nor does she try outlandish things to make her "outside" look better. However, day after day she sits in front of the mirror putting her makeup on... taking it off.... putting it on... taking it off. This could go on for HOURS and HOURS on end. Our family is a large extended Italian catholic family. Ever since we were children our family would have large gatherings for holidays. It was what we ALL looked forward too. My cousin hasn't been to Thanksgiving or Xmas in years.


Overall, I'm not really sure what I am trying to say. But for any of you that are implying that this disorder is filled with vanity or is in their head..... try to live a day .... just one day.... with the fear and thoughts that go through an individuals mind who has been diagnosed with BDD.


I wouldn't wish it on a soul!


Best wishes to all of you :)



October 30, 2007, 4:22 pm CDT

Thank you for sharing your story!

Quote From: maceasar

I am a 43 year old gay male and I have dealt with BDD since I was 13. It was only recently that I realised that I have had BDD longer than I have had depression, which I have had since 1977


I was in grade 5 and I bugged my parents to get braces. I have a gap slightly larger than Madonna has.  I got braces 3 years later.


I remember an incident in grade 7 where I used a bobby pin to try to get a mole off my face. I wanted to get Porcelana (age fading ) cream because I thought it would remove my mole but I was too embarrassed as a 13 year old boy buying age cream.


I have been obsessed with my looks ever since then. And as mentioned on the show, it isnt vanity. Getting back to my braces, I remember being in the orthodontist chair and looking at the dentist and thinking "why cant I look like him"


I would probably be described as slightly above attractive person, but I wanted to be 'the hunk' and I wasnt that. As my depression continued, I gained some weight (40 lbs), and in my opinion, my looks faded. I feel ugly. I feel hideous. I stay at home much of the day. I dont like going outside and I have anxiety when I do.


When I go out, I compare myself to other guys and I can get very depressed when I see a good looking guy.


As funny as it may sound, I have been suicidal about my hair. I have hair similiar to Sting, a bit less. Its devastating and I know people probably dont understand.


Ive become a recluse because of BDD, along with depression and anxiety. Girls may be associated more with BDD, but guys have it to


Thats just a bit of my story



Vancouver, British Columbia

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I just recently posted to this board about BDD. My best friend (also my cousin) was diagnosed with BDD about 4 years ago. It has been the WORST thing in the world to see her go through what she is going through. I have to constantly remind myself that I can't make it better. I do all I can to support her. Some of the people on the show, and on this board... have NO idea what it is like to live with this disorder.


With that said... thank you for sharing.


Best of luck to you!



October 30, 2007, 4:25 pm CDT


Quote From: hereisit

I'm 5ft7, 104 lbs, and a recovering anorexic.  I say recovering because I'll never be well, much like an alcoholic can only choose not to drink that day.  I got up to (what I felt was an obese) 130lbs last winter, and  started  dropping weight again this spring.  By July, I was down to 97lbs.  I started to think again "How much more can I lose".  I'm lucky.  I had 4 years of good therapy (CBT) that allowed me to recognise a relapse when it attacked me.  I still feel fat, ugly, and don't go out much, preferring the nonjudgemental company of my rescued dogs and cats.  I just accept that I'll never feel entirely comfortable around people.  I accept that I will always feel that they are talking about what I'm wearing, my weight,  how ugly I am.  I know intellectually that it's not true, but emotionally, just spending a few hours out in town leaves me anxious, feeling fat, and hideous. 
I'd rather stay home, with my dogs, who love me unconditionally. 
I don't feel handicapped by my BDD.  I have found the things in my life that matter, a few good and supportive friends, an a boyfriend who tries to understand, even when I know he wishes he could just wave a magic wand and fix me. 
Life with BDD isn't all bad.  Because mirrors trigger my disorder, I don't have them in my home.  I don't go to dressing rooms (they can make me cut myself with their 360 degree mirors) so I order my clothes online.  If I go out with friends, I go to two or three places I feel safe in, usually late at night when there are fewer people to judge me. 
I don't mind my life, it's so much better than it was before therapy.  Before therapy, just leaving my home, or eating out was a trigger.  Now I can go out, eat, and have fun, as long as it's in one of the places I feel safe in.  I've also discovered I can go new places and meet new people if I have one of my dogs with me.  I'm more focuesd on keeping my dog feeling secure (a lot of mine have survived abuse/neglect) than on my own discomfort.  Since I have to present a calm alpha to keep my dog calm, it has the de facto effect of forcing me to be calm, rather than hyperanalysing myself. 
Because a lot of my neglected dogs came in grossly underweight and needed nutritional supplementation, I've become more aware of the harm letting myself get too underweight can cause. 
Seriously, once I had derived as much as I could from CBT, and transferred my focus to caring for my dogs I got a good portion of my health back.  I may have saved them from death at the pound, but they saved me from death by starvation.  I have to have energy to walk them.   I can't over excercise myself, because I don't want to strain their hips and elbows, so the excessive running I used to do is out. 
I'm healthier, less selfish, and am maintaining my weight at a healthier level since getting my dogs. 
I can't say enough about how much they've done to give me back a good quality of life. 
I haven't had a major depressive episode in nearly a year, because if I start to feel down, one of my dogs will come snuggle up to me and remind me that I haven't failed at Everything, I saved them after all. 
My dogs are my therapy, my constant companions, and my best friends, they don't care if I'm fat, thin, ugly, pretty, wearing make up or not, if my hair is a disaster or if my clothes are two years out of date, they just care that I love them, protect them, feed them, and take them to the Vet to keep them healthy. 
I think they are the only reason I haven't slid back into anorexia, when I got down to 97 lbs, it was hard for me to have enough energy to play the hours of fetch they love, so I saw that I was not healthy at that weight, and was able to start eating more healthfully again, so they didn't have to lose another home.  (If I went into the hospital, my fur babies would need to go to foster care).  They have saved me as much as, if not more than, I have saved them.
What an absolute success you are! You not only showed  far more guts that we can imagine by facing that monster on your own, but you became a perfect hero for other living beings that needed you! Do you have any idea how wonderful you are???? Too bad you couldn't turn your miracle into a full time business where you can teach other people in pain how to survive! I really admire you and wish you all the best in your future! Keep it UP!!!!!!
October 30, 2007, 4:26 pm CDT

10/30 Body Dysmorphia

Quote From: adrianashwec

there are people with real problems in this world  liked children with cancer and real issues like starving people in Africa, can't believe this is even a relative issue

Wake up stupid!!!!


People with BDD aren't starving in Africa..... and maybe they don't have cancer! They are dealing with what is relevant to them at that time. If you got burnt in a fire.... and burned 98 % of your body......that would be pretty bad huh??? Oh yeah thats right.... not half as bad as starving children in Africa!!!! So if something tragic happens to you in your life either emotionally or physically...... hopefully people will post on here about it and tell you that the people in Africa are more important!


Your tapped!


Get a grip!

October 30, 2007, 4:32 pm CDT

10/30 Body Dysmorphia

Quote From: blane7579

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I just recently posted to this board about BDD. My best friend (also my cousin) was diagnosed with BDD about 4 years ago. It has been the WORST thing in the world to see her go through what she is going through. I have to constantly remind myself that I can't make it better. I do all I can to support her. Some of the people on the show, and on this board... have NO idea what it is like to live with this disorder.


With that said... thank you for sharing.


Best of luck to you!



I am terribly sorry to hear your cousin going through this. Every single statement hits home, big time. I want you and your cousin to know there IS help out there, and PLEASE disregard these ignorant posts about 'getting over it'.....


Kudos to you for supporting her all this time. She will never forget your actions.



October 30, 2007, 4:37 pm CDT


Quote From: littlebit6803

After watching this show today, I started wondering what my life would be like if I obsessed over my visual flaws. I have what's called Hemihyprotrophy. It's where one side of my body grows unusually faster than the other side and I have scoliosis because of it. If I were truely obsessive over my body image, I would not be able to wear my two-piece swimwear, had my hair completely cover my back at all times and had just too much drama that I am willing to deal with... I love my body. Yes, my left leg is a quarter inch longer than the right. my left leg bows slightly because of it... my spine looks like a snake slithering and my feet and hands are two different sizes...Shoe shopping can be a NIGHTMARE... So I walk a little lop-sided and my back hurts if I don't wear the lift in my right shoe, but that's who I am... And as for the lady that says that it was because of her being sexually abused: PLEASE WOMAN GET A GRIP!!!!!!!!!! That may be part of it, but only a SMALL part of it. Believe me, I was abused by someone that I really trusted when I was a little girl. It effected me for a little while, but through prayer and talking with a preacher about it, that doesn't even bother me anymore. I think that the girls on your show today really need to pray about their ordeal... But I had to just say that I JUST CAN'T UNDERSTAND what is so wrong with them... to me they just seem like spoiled little girls who need to STOP WHINING.. Seriously GROW UP!! I'm not saying that their disorder is fake or anything but there are people with far more problems than what they could even dream!!! They have food, they have clothes, they have families that love them... just get a grip
I started out reading your story with a lot of compassion for your situation until I got to the part where you were criticising someone ELSE's pain. You have no right to decide how much someone else is hurting. No one is telling you that you don't have the right to YOUR pain, Why do you think you can do it to others? It makes you an ugly person when you do that and it makes it really hard to have compassion for you as well. You seem extremely arrogant and I hate to tell you, but your praying isn't doing you one bit of good.
October 30, 2007, 4:38 pm CDT

body dysmorphia

I feel so bad for Dr. Phil, maybe the girl at the show is used to taking advantage of her Relatives and friends, but Dr. phil? what was all that about, I've had permanent make up done before and it won't be perfect, nothing like that ever is, I guess she needs other kinds of procedures, like counseling for one, to me it seems that she is nothing but a spoiled brat.  maybe she ought to go and get a job and start paying for those procedures herself and see what real life cost.


October 30, 2007, 4:40 pm CDT

Please Give Me your Thoughts

Quote From: bddmymatt

My 35 year old son took his life last year as a result of suffering from the symptoms of BBD.  He was my only child.  College graduate; created/owned successful international business; 6'2", 'buff'', very good looking chick magnet, wonderfully witty and outstanding personality.  Respected, generous, loving, 'life of the party'; so many friends.  Was so good at hiding his torment until it was too late.


Looking back, I can track maybe 3 years before his death that his behavior was changing.  His last year he was obsessed with wanting to talk about his 'gross appearance'.  No longer wanted to be seen in public because he knew peopled were grossed out by his looks.  Had one minimal surgery on his eyes; wanted more and began seeking out top plastic surgeons who fortunately were suspect of his obsession.  Would become so angry with us, workers, and friends for not agreeing he was disgustingly ugly.


He hid his torment so well until his last year...until he couldnt fake it anymore.  He was ashamed about not feeling normal, the emotional distress from this obsession just wore him out.  He never acknowledged that he had a disorder....just that he was grotesque.  


This is so heartbreaking for the person that can no longer reason and for the family and friends helplessly watching the demise.  While he secretly saw a therapist, it was difficult for us, including his therapist, to find a medical doctor that 'got' what was really going on with my son.  Finally we did and told that my son was so far  advanced in the BBD world tht it would  difficult for him to 'return' and warned that he was at high risk for suicide. (My son never met the doctor, but did meet with his therapist, me and his father). Without out my son's knowledge, we were in the process of obtaining a court order that would mandate a long term hospital confinement.  It was too late.   I miss him every second of my days..



Firstly I am so very sorry to hear of your loss . I read what you wrote and I have a very close friend who is only 21 years old; I am the only person who knows about the full extent of his thoughts on how he looks. I h got him to go to a counsellor and hes convinced "nothing can be done".

Some of the words you said your son used are the same as those being used by my friend ... "gross looking" ..."the shape of my head" ..."i hate the color of my hair". I have now realized he hates to see himself in a mirror, hates photographs being taken, hates to even see his reflection. He repulses himself and ironically this is a very handsome guy. He has suffered this for as "long as he can remember".

In the past couple of weeks its seems slightly better but i am worried it is more of him hiding it again and I think he may have stopped seeing the counsellor.

Hes only 21 I am very worried now this will continue to grow and get worse as the time goes on.

Please if you see this, give me your thoughts.
October 30, 2007, 4:40 pm CDT


I've waited for a show like this. I know I suffer with this disorder and have even told two therapist that I feel this way. Both therapist brushed my words off as if they were nothing. Every day I wake up hating what I look like.. now, at age 41 I feel I am not only look like a monster but an old monster... as my body changes with being pregnant the disorder is at it's peak. I feel there is no help and I have yet to find a support group or therapist that can help me. If anyone would like to have someone to talk with that feels the same please contact me. I would give anything to be able to get Dr. Phils help but even I know the chances of that are slim due to he must be incredibly busy. So, any help or contact from someone suffering with the same thing would be wonderful.



October 30, 2007, 4:40 pm CDT


Quote From: nasale

What an absolute success you are! You not only showed  far more guts that we can imagine by facing that monster on your own, but you became a perfect hero for other living beings that needed you! Do you have any idea how wonderful you are???? Too bad you couldn't turn your miracle into a full time business where you can teach other people in pain how to survive! I really admire you and wish you all the best in your future! Keep it UP!!!!!!
I didn't realize this was so huge.  I am grateful that you were able to share that here.  I am a recovering alcoholic and you are right I only can do it 24 hours at a time...even sometimes 1 minute at a time.  I have been recovering for 8 years and have had to learn how to deal with many different things in life that I never use to look at or acknowledge; instead I would run from them and just trap myself farther and farther into drugs and booze.  I am proud of you for everything you have acomplished!!!
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