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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, 2:03 pm CDT

10/30 Body Dysmorphia

Quote From: mybabyjames

my point of bringing up people in other countries is that there are problems far worse then our western cultures expectations on how we should look. If a women is somewhere where there is suffering and constant turmoil,  she doesn't have time to stop watching out for her kids and or her job to sit in front of the mirror and whine!!  If a women going through something like that came to America and saw those women whining about how the look, she'd would have to laugh. I personally don't feel bad for the women that are "normal looking" & not in touch with the priorities in life and the have been stuck in the cycle of vanity. I do feel terribly for the ones that actually have problems on their faces and bodies and have a reason to be a little weary of the world. I understand whats happened in their pasts can affect them, but we need to not give it labels which then allows them to wollow in it.

 "I personally don't feel bad for the women that are "normal looking" & not in touch with the priorities in life and the have been stuck in the cycle of vanity. "


Is this what you would say to someone with anorexia?  You know someone who has anorexia or who is bulemic doesn't start out like a rail but "looking normal" & they have a distored view of their image.  Is there something that you're having a hard time understanding when this is explained as a diorder?  This isn't to "give it a label" but to *diagnose a disorder".  It took *years & years* before they diagnosed eating diorders & now just because people cannot understand a new one THEY are the ones that are giving a labe to a group of people *suffering from it*! 


You say you "understand what has happened in their past can affect them but we need to not give it labels which then allows them to wollow in it."


So basically you think they should "just get over it"?  Compassion dear you don't know what in  your life you may have to deal with & when you might need some compassion yourself. 

October 30, 2007, 2:04 pm CDT

I love this topic

I love that this topic was brought to life. I believe that millions of people suffer from this problem and it is becoming more and more common with the way society views looks. The first women on the show that had many facial procedures done was so beautiful and it stuns me that people so beautiful can look into a mirror and see ugly.
October 30, 2007, 2:05 pm CDT

10/30 Body Dysmorphia

I do agree that these girls (and others with this disorder) should be exposed to real problems in life, it might give them some perspective. However, I am sympathetic to what they are going through. If they do have this disorder, they are not simply acting out, or being vain. Much like people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, their brain is not functioning properly and they need help to learn how to deal with it.  Telling them they are crazy is not going to make the problem go away. They don't need to be indulged, but they do need to be supported and reassured that they are not crazy and they can be helped.
October 30, 2007, 2:06 pm CDT

Thank you for expressing this case well.

Quote From: joyjoybink

I'm sorry that Diana's sister doesn't understand. Of course she doesn't; she doesn't have body dysmorpic disorder! My dad, who passed on in 1990, had this before there was even a NAME for it! He ALWAYS thought his eyes were bulging & people could see it & that they were laughing at him. Even if a car passed us on the road & he saw the people in that car laughing, he truly thought they were laughing at HIM. Of course that sounds ridiculous, I realize that. But UNTIL those of you who don't believe this is a real disorder realize that it really, truly is a problem for some people, please, PLEASE don't judge these people!


My dad never got the help he needed. He was VERY withdrawn (although he was a wonderful dad & I still love him dearly & miss him), didn't like to be in public, & had a very difficult time socializing. My mom & I (& my brother when he was still at home; he was quiet like my dad & joined a Christian band when he was 17, left home, & then married at 19) went through very frustrating YEARS & YEARS trying to convince my dad that his eyes looked fine. When what we told him simply didn't work, it was SO difficult! Now I know that he COULDN'T help it! It didn't have a name in the 60s to the 80s; my dad was mentally ill since he was 19. And he knew he was mentally ill--he always turned it inward; he never hurt anyone at all. I don't know, though, if he knew intellectually that his eyes were fine.

Liz, please, PLEASE don't be so hard on your sister. She truly can't help it! Do you think she WANTS to feel that way? Of course not! I have gone through this & know how hard it is to deal with a family member who had BDD. We just didn't know what it was or that it even had a NAME. My dad was also clinically depressed, & he probably also had either a form of agoraphobia or social anxiety disorder. Plus he had very tormenting tinnitus---ringing in his ears; it just got louder as he got older & NEVER stopped (it was the result of a cherry bomb that went off near his ear on July 4 when I was a young girl; my uncle threw it & it went off before it was supposed to). My dad lived in mental agony from age 19 till his death at age 61.


Btw, my dad was NOT a manipulative person; he didn't want plastic surgery or anything like that. And he never attempted suicide that I know of, although my mom was fearful of that sometimes. And he also did NOT know what he had! And I was incredibly fearful as a young person that I would later BECOME like him. He also felt like he was an automaton; part of that was his medication for high blood pressure and for depression---and Prozac & those type of drugs (SSRIs) were available back then. He felt detached from life in a way---as if he were on the outside of his body looking at himself doing things. It's so difficult to explain. In the last year or so of his life, he couldn't even drive by himself. He just, for some reason, could NOT do it.


I really don't think my dad was abused in any way as a child. His parents were wonderful people who took care of my brother & me when both Mom & Dad were working. My dad, when he was able to work, worked as a night watchman---a solitary job. When he got laid off from his last job (he had a few, but if he wasn't completely alone on his job, he had a lot of trouble dealing with people around him, although he was an incredibly kind & very intelligent man. He gave me his love for learning. He taught me a lot about nature. I was Daddy's girl. His problems did bring up a few difficulties for me. I couldn't have friends over---my dad just couldn't handle that (although cousins was OK), and the thing I think affected me the most was that my dad wasn't strong enough emotionally for me to ask questions about life. I'm not describing this well; what I mean is that Mom, my brother, & I had to PROTECT Dad from anything that we thought would really upset him. He just couldn't handle it. In SO many ways, he was a wonderful dad, but he was also mentally ill. And that, of course, affected me & still affects me to some degree.

I'm 47 now. I don't have BDD & neither does my brother. I was always an outgoing person. I'm a bit shyer now & sometimes have problems with depression & anxiety, but the main reason for that is because I live with constant physical pain & profound fatigue---DAILY. I have ankylosing spondylitis (recently, finally diagnosed), fibromyalgia, TMJ syndrome, moderate asthma, multiple allergies, & I am sometimes anxious in social situations. Since I work from home very part-time as a freelance proofreader (since 1996), & I got ill (fibro & perhaps AS; I'm not sure when that started), I've been REALLY isolated just due to being ill & working from home.


One more thing: I had a panic attack when I was in a doctor's (internist) office in Feb. 2000. Because I was crying & couldn't stop (it was because he'd prescribed a drug that interacted with another med & gave me a couple of weird mental episodes---and he didn't realize it!), he put me in the hospital in the stress center! He didn't call my husband; he just sent me over to the hospital. I was so confused by that point---& hoping I might get some actual help from SOMEONE---ANYONE---in the hospital for my physical problems that I even signed the paper. Once they locked the door on me, THEN I went into true panic! I was scared my biggest fear had come true! My dad was in a sanitarium (mental hospital) in the late 40s & received shock treatments (that stole many of his memories before that time); his parents simply didn't know what else to do at that time. But that was the HORRID time to go to places like that! When my husband & mom came to see me in the hospital, I know I looked like a deer caught in the headlights. I couldn't tell them why. But I was in there with people who were suicidal AND homicidal!! It only made me feel SO much worse! After being in there 27 hours(!) & NOT seeing the internist (who had promised to come see me & didn't!), I finally (after walking around the halls telling the nurses, therapists that I was going to leave if I didn't see a doctor!) got to see the doc who ran that floor. He took one look at me & said, "You'd rather deal with this at home, wouldn't you?" YES! I only had 2 strange mental episodes; when I stopped that med, I stopped having that happen. It didn't happen before & hasn't happened since! And it was the LAST time I went to see that doctor!

Anyway, I know from YEARS of experience that you simply can't tell someone who has BDD that they look fine and that will fix it. It simply won't! Not if they truly have BDD. And not just girls have it. As I said, my dad had it before it had a name. And although I have some depression & anxiety at times (I had a lot of anxiety attacks for awhile after my dad died---I even went into therapy with a wonderful psychiatrist who helped me deal with my grief & even my marriage), I'm not like Dad. And he was a wonderful Christian man; our family---and I---believe strongly in heaven & the hereafter (Dad & I had many talks about heaven; I miss those talks). So I KNOW that my dad is healthy now in every way---and I'm so glad for him! Even though I miss him, I wouldn't want him to come back to what he dealt with in life. And I don't care what others think; I know I'll see Dad again. :)

Sorry I wrote so much. I'm a good proofreader; I'm just not concise when I write things! LOL :) Anyway, BDD is ABSOLUTELY REAL. Take it from someone who knows, who lived with it someone who had it for so many years. And don't be so judgmental; love others & try to be as caring & kind as you possibly can. It's not fake; it's very real. And the person who has it truly doesn't know how to make it stop. I'm just glad that BDD is finally recognized; I wish it had been when my dad was alive---maybe he'd have been able to get some treatment (he did see a psychiatrist for depression; she didn't know what the other stuff was since BDD wasn't known about then). Be kind, take care of each other, & don't forget to love people.


Everyone have a good week! :) I'm looking forward to hubby & I picking up our new Chihuahua pup (male) this Saturday! Now we have 2; it'll be 3 soon! :-D Can't wait to go bring Pippin home! :)

There's all kinds of pain in this world and I  don't understand those who are in their own form of pain will attack others who are hurting! It doesn't make anyone else's problem 'easier' by trying to play the 'my dog's bigger than your dog' game.That is just plain stupid! Speaking of dogs....... Congrats! I would love to be in YOUR shoes!!!! :-)
October 30, 2007, 2:08 pm CDT

10/30 Body Dysmorphia

I imagine teasing can play a huge part in this disorder. Parents and schools need to focus more on preventing bullying and teasing. Because it can start as early as Kindergarden. Children are not born evil. But neither are they born completely good. They need to be taught empathy and compassion.
October 30, 2007, 2:18 pm CDT


Quote From: momakababe

 "I personally don't feel bad for the women that are "normal looking" & not in touch with the priorities in life and the have been stuck in the cycle of vanity. "


Is this what you would say to someone with anorexia?  You know someone who has anorexia or who is bulemic doesn't start out like a rail but "looking normal" & they have a distored view of their image.  Is there something that you're having a hard time understanding when this is explained as a diorder?  This isn't to "give it a label" but to *diagnose a disorder".  It took *years & years* before they diagnosed eating diorders & now just because people cannot understand a new one THEY are the ones that are giving a labe to a group of people *suffering from it*! 


You say you "understand what has happened in their past can affect them but we need to not give it labels which then allows them to wollow in it."


So basically you think they should "just get over it"?  Compassion dear you don't know what in  your life you may have to deal with & when you might need some compassion yourself. 

Com on , She s beutiful!!!     I have this same thing and she needs to realizes this !! GOD if  looked like her or Had the money to !! you wanna talk about be'in picked on ???? I was PICKED ON !!! Give me a break!

Your problem IS NOT DYSORPHIA ITS  !! OH I"M Not Good Enough !!! WAWAWAWAWAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

October 30, 2007, 2:19 pm CDT

10/30 Body Dysmorphia

i thought i was the only one with this , i always knew i wasnt right in this way and i know what it is now. i know what these people are going through, i was picked on in school for having strawberry blond hair, and being a lil on the heavy side and 15 years later i still see my self as the fat kid with red hair. so i have dyed my hair and starved myself i have dropped 45 lbs. and i still look the same.i look in the  mirror and i see a 450lb woman with fire red boyfriend tells me that im a very hot 5'9  woman who weighs185and that has strawberry blond hair. so if any of you that may be reading this where did dr phil say to go to get help i olny seen the last 10 mins of the show..i need help not just for me but for my 5 year old  daughter thanks .  c l b
October 30, 2007, 2:20 pm CDT

I haven't suffered anything close to this

Quote From: nasale

 for her superior nasty attitude. She REALLY needs to walk in the shoes of someone who is going through this. I never had body dysmorphia but I know what it's like to have the self-loathing and hatred. This is a carbon copy of my life and I never got over the anger and resentment I felt for members of my extended family. There is no possible way that the surgeries are going to 'fix' something that is so deep -seated. It manifests itself in many ways but this is just the symptoms of how it surfaces. There is NO WAY no matter how she mouths the words that she even begins to understand her sister. If she did, she wouldn't be on her extremely high horse. There but for the grace of God, sister!!!!!!

I've never had self loathing and hatred and except for the averageness of the dysfunctional family (we're all dysfunctional in some way) I was brought up in a relatiely loving climate.  I mean my sister could pick on me till not end but if someone else did that in the school yard to me she'd have them for lunch.  Anyway I have a hard time getting to this place of upset, but because I can't even imagine it I realize *I can't imagine this*.  I think there are certain illnesses that we just cannot wrap our minds around like anorexia or this one with self image and I think it's just because we are not the person suffering from it.  However in reality I don't think anyone sees themself as others see them.  If people did see themselves as others do there wouldn't be so many here that look so cruel in their thoughts & with such a lack of compassion that THAT is what makes them look unaattractive.



October 30, 2007, 2:21 pm CDT

I've been here

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.
October 30, 2007, 2:23 pm CDT

Oh Diana!

If only this woman could see how beautiful she really is.  I understand she has some preconceived notion that she isn't attractive,but I am here to say she is gorgeous!  Most woman would kill to have such a pretty face.  I truly hope she gets the help she needs so she can blossom into the outgoing, fun-loving, intelligent, and beautiful woman we all know is waiting inside just begging to come out.  I wish her the best of luck and God bless!
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