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Selfie obsession, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and depression quiz

By HBC Protocols April 21, 2014 0 comments

Practically everyone is snapping pictures of themselves these days, in every imaginable context, even some very dangerous ones. 5 hours ago a 19 year old kid from North America vacationing in South America nearly got run down by a train taking a selfie. He would have been clipped and probably killed had the conductor not kicked him away in the nick of time. Selfie production —via still or video—is the fastest way to fill social network sites—Facebook, tumbler, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest oh and let’s not forget Google Plus—with absolute evidence that you are one good looking, fascinating, courageous, kinky, multidimensional, crazy, cool . . . . person, right? 

Not if you do it all the time. Let’s clarify something here. Selfie addiction is not an addiction. It is the symptom of a pathology that has been linked to past bullying and low self-esteem called BDD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Another poster boy for this affliction is a 15 year old kid who has been on the news for taking up to 80 selfies before leaving for school in the morning. As his addiction worsened, he lost weight (binging only on selfies) and dropped out of school. He eventually attempted suicide with an overdose of pills. He wanted to be a model and his Facebook friends told him his body was all wrong and he had bad skin. Describing this as sad denies the word substance. It is positively scary. 

Are you one of those people who go crazy taking selfies? If so your narcissism has just found another way to run amuck. Not sure? Take the quiz below. Young people today have enough technical ability to be their own one person production team. With this ability to photograph, edit, and score almost any image or short vid they can mount daily productions of their lives. The effect of this ability is that they are now in a position to morph and re-morph into a constantly different identity, effectively redefining themselves for instant feedback from sites like Facebook. Men and women, boys and girls with Body Dysmorphic Disorder are then being trapped into believing appearance is their only value. Selfies have become the way to check for flaws. Other compulsive repetitive behaviors designed to hide or improve perceived physical flaws are: constantly checking in a mirror, excessive grooming, excessive exercise, constantly changing cloths, comparing your body parts to other people’s body parts. Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether you might have BDD. 

  1. Are you very concerned about the appearance of some part(s) of your body which you consider especially unattractive?
    Yes
    No
    If yes: Do these concerns preoccupy you? That is, do you think about them a lot and wish you could worry less?
    Yes
    No
  2. How much time do you spend thinking about your defect(s) per day on average? Add up all the time you spend on this.
    Less than 1 hour a day
    1-3 hours a day
    More than 3 hours a day
  3. Is your main concern with how you look that you aren’t thin enough or that you might become too fat?
    Yes
    No
  4. What effect has your preoccupation with your appearance had on your life?
    a. Has your defect(s) often caused you a lot of distress, torment, or emotional pain?
    Yes
    No
    b. Has your defect(s) often significantly interfered with your social life?
    Yes
    No
    c. Has your defect(s) often significantly interfered with your school work, your job, or your ability to function in your role (e.g., as a homemaker)?
    Yes
    No
    d. Are there things you avoid because of your defect(s)?
    Yes
    No

You’re likely to have BDD if you gave the following answers: Question 1: Yes to both parts Question 2: Answer b or c Question 3: While a “yes” answer may indicate that BDD is present, it is possible that an eating disorder is a more accurate diagnosis Question 4: Yes to any of the questions. Please note that the above questions are intended to screen for BDD, not diagnose it; the answers indicated above can suggest that BDD is present but can’t necessarily give a definitive diagnosis. 

Effective treatments are available to help BDD sufferers live full, productive lives. On such therapy is Cognitive-behavior therapy. CBT teaches patients how to recognize irrational thoughts and change negative thinking patterns. Patients learn to identify unhealthy ways of thinking and behaving and replace them with positive ones. CBT has had a measure of success but doesn’t work for everyone. The second mode of treatment is ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. ACT incorporates the core concepts of mindfulness, acceptance and value based living. 

Another way to go is antidepressant medications. The most popular for BDD are the SSRI’s because of their ability to address the obsessive and compulsive symptoms. Natural ssri’s include St. John’s wort and Sceletium Tortuosum


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