According to the Cleveland Clinic, 1 in 50 people within the U.S., or an estimated 5 million to 10 million, are affected by body dysmorphic disorder – a condition well known by those of us within OA. Given that so many of us with this condition are deeply reluctant to discuss our symptoms (thereby leading to a lack of diagnosis), it may well be far more common than these numbers represent.
Per the NCBI, body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder in which individuals can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in their appearance. This flaw may be purely minor – such that it cannot be seen by others – or it may be entirely imagined. Those of us who suffer with this condition sometimes turn to numerous cosmetic procedures or excessive exercise in our desperate attempts to change our bodies to suit some imagined ideal. We may frequently examine our appearance in a mirror, or may constantly compare our own appearance with that of others. In fact, we may feel so embarrassed, ashamed, and anxious that we may avoid many social situations and shy completely away from being photographed.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you struggle with body dysmorphia or issues with your body image?
- Are you obsessed with a perceived or imaginary defect in your physical appearance?
- Do you have repetitive concerns about your body?
- Do you beat yourself up over the slightest physical blemish or imperfection?
- Do you see yourself as “ugly” or think about your perceived flaws for hours each day?
- Do you go so far as to miss work or school because you don’t want others to see you?
- Do you find yourself avoiding social situations or become especially anxious or angry about being photographed?
If you found yourself answering ‘yes’ to any one of the above questions, and are ready to accept help, then you can benefit from attending an OA meeting, finding a sponsor, and working our Twelve Step program of recovery.
We hope you will join us and come to experience the gifts of the OA program: happiness, joy, and freedom!