Have u come across anyone who is obsessively preoccupied with her dark skin or worried beyond redemption about his ‘larger than normal’ nose?

Well, it may help to know that we are dealing with someone suffering from a psychological condition called the Body Dysmorphic disorder (BDD) also known as ‘Dysmorphic syndrome’ or ‘Body dysmorphia’.

The disorder shot to prominence recently with the king of pop – Michael Jackson- himself being diagnosed with it.

Obsessive-compulsive traits are clearly seen in several individuals with this disorder — which usually sets in during adolescence.

Several symptoms are exhibited by the BDD sufferers but the most prominent feature is the heavy grooming that they indulge in and the gargantuan amount of time that they spend before the mirror, worrying about a perceived defect (often non existent) .

The illness causes psychological distress to the point of severe anxiety, depression and impaired social functioning. Social phobia and eating disorders like anorexia nervosa are some of the co- morbidities associated with BDD (Little wonder that MJ faded out on an empty stomach!).

In an attempt to set right their ‘mal-aligned’ features many of these patients seek the help of dermatologists and plastic surgeons. One surgery is often followed with requests for more!! (don’t we know all know that MJ’s later day identity became synonymous with his much- operated -upon nose?)

BDD is a chronic condition that could worsen with lack of treatment. However, it must be appreciated that Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has proven beneficial for many.