At some point in their lives, most people are dissatisfied with a particular body part or two. In a society where we are flooded with images it would be almost impossible to not experience that. However, this differs from what is known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder, as defined in the DSM-V, is a preoccupation with one or more perceived defects in physical appearance that are not observable or appear only slight to others. It also involves rituals or repetitive behaviors such excessive grooming, checking in the mirror, skin picking or comparing oneself to others. The key difference from those of us that say to ourselves, “Oh, I’m having a bad hair day…guess I’ll throw it up in a bun” is that Body Dysmorphic Disorder causes significant distress, takes up too much time and can make it difficult for the individual to function at an optimum level, i.e., they can’t get to work on time because they keep checking their appearance in the mirror over and over again.
It used to be categorized as a somatoform disorder meaning there was the presence or complaint of a physical symptom. It is now understood as an obsessive compulsive related disorder. However most doctors and mental health specialists consider it to fall under the broad umbrella of anxiety.
Here are some helpful articles to understand the symptoms, treatment and experience of having this disorder.