Dysmorphophobia: fear of ugliness

Dysmorphophobia: fear of ugliness

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Disturbed perception leads to the impression of being disfigured

Panic when looking in the mirror and fear of the eyes of others: Up to a million people suffer from the perceptual disorder "dysmorphophobia", which makes them feel ugly and disfigured for no apparent reason. The causes of the still relatively unknown disorder are not yet known, but it is often assumed that the causes are in many cases in childhood.

Up to a million people affected by KDS "I am ugly and disfigured and everyone is staring at me" - those who think so may suffer from a so-called dysmorphophobia, a perceptual disorder that affects up to a million people in Germany. Characteristic of the disease, also known as body dysmorphic disorder (KDS), is the fear of being severely disfigured by a flaw - although this does not exist at all or is only minimally recognizable. The face and head are most often perceived as deformed, for example due to a supposedly too large nose, a suspected asymmetry of the facial features, acne or scars.

Fear of rejection often leads to social withdrawal. As a result, those concerned deal excessively with the imagined blemish, which more and more solidifies the impression of their own unattractiveness and, even if there is a slight physical anomaly, exaggerated concern. As a result, those affected feel permanently stared at by others and fear that the alleged disfigurement could lead to rejection and disregard. This often has fatal consequences, because fear of rejection means that many people with KDS withdraw from social life and isolate themselves.

Those affected are often very attractive Behavior is often incomprehensible, because “those affected are often very attractive. Their self-assessment deviates greatly from their actual appearance, ”explains psychologist Viktoria Ritter from the University of Frankfurt / Main to the news agency“ dpa ”. In her research on dysmorphophobia, she found out, among other things, that those affected by KDS were above average sensitive to aesthetic proportions and would therefore immediately perceive even minimal differences. But the fact that this could actually be a disease is often only recognized late, because the question "Am I beautiful?" Every now and then, every now and then, the psychologist continues.

Bullying and rejection in childhood as a possible cause The specific triggers of dysmorphophobia are not yet known, but experts consider both biological and sociocultural factors possible. Correspondingly, for example, bullying or teasing or even media-mediated beauty ideals could favor the emergence of KDS, because especially in formats such as "Germany's next top model" or many previous series, attractiveness and success are usually closely linked. "The causes are often in childhood," said psychotherapist Stefan Brunhoeber to "dpa". Here, among other things, "overprotection", but also constant criticism and rejection can lead to people feeling ugly and disfigured, the expert continues. (No)

Image: stefane / pixelio.de

Author and source information

Video: Seeing Myself As Ugly: What Body Dysmorphia Feels Like


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