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Body Dysmorphic Disorder: How Snapchat Filters Are Ruining Your Mental Health

Are you one of those who are always hooked on Snapchat filters? This is the social trend that has caught the fancy of the Indian youth as many social media users in the age group of 17 -25 years are approaching plastic surgeons to look like the filtered selfies. This article will discuss Snapchat dysmorphia that is fuelling a new plastic surgery trend amongst the teenagers.

Many teenagers are undergoing plastic surgery to get fuller lips, bigger eyes or a thinner nose, based on their favourite social media filters. This may be a sign of an underlying mental health condition called as the body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a disorder that has been classified under the obsessive-compulsive spectrum.

In one of the articles published in the JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, a bimonthly medical journal published by the American Medical Association, researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine's department of dermatology said that smartphone photo filters that are easily available in Snapchat are altering people's perception of beauty worldwide. This is triggering body dysmorphic disorder, a mental illness that needs to be seriously looked at.

Filtered selfies can have serious harmful effects on adolescents as they may internalize this beauty standard more severely.

So What Exactly Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

It is a mental disorder in which one can't stop thinking of the flaws or defects in their appearance while this flaw to others could be minor and unnoticeable. People with body dysmorphic disorder can spend hours obsessing over their appearance and body image in front of the mirror. The perceived flaws and the repetitive behaviours can cause distress.

And because of this, numerous cosmetic procedures are done by them to fix their perceived flaw. This disorder has been associated with depression, suicidal tendencies and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What Are The Causes Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

The causes of body dysmorphic disorder are not specifically known. But, researchers say several factors like genetics and neurological issues, environment factors and abnormalities in the brain may play a role in body dysmorphic disorder.

What Are The Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorders?

The signs and symptoms of the disorder include the following:

1. Being extremely preoccupied with a perceived flaw.

2. A belief that other people are noticing your appearance in a negative way and mocking you.

3. A strong belief that you have a defect in your appearance that makes you think you are deformed.

4. Fixing or hiding perceived flaws with make-up, checking the mirror every now and then, and skin picking.

5. Engaging in behaviours that are difficult to control.

6. Always comparing your appearance with others and seeking reassurance from others.

7. Avoiding social situations.

8. Having perfectionist tendencies.

9. Seeking frequent cosmetic procedures.

When To See A Doctor?

The shame and embarrassment about your appearance will not let you seek treatment for body dysmorphic disorder. But, if you have the above symptoms, immediately visit a mental health professional.

If it's left untreated, the condition may worsen over time, leading to severe depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies as well.

What Are The Risk factors For Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

These factors include having blood relatives who have obsessive-compulsive disorder, childhood trauma, perfectionism, societal pressure, and suffering from anxiety or depression.

What Are The Complications Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

The complications could be substance abuse, eating disorders, skin picking, anxiety disorders, depression and mood disorders.

Prevention Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

There's no way to prevent the disorder once it reaches its peak stage. However, this disorder starts in the early teenage years, so identifying the disorder early and starting treatment can bring some benefits.

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