WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) – Doctors say social media filters are creating an unrealistic expectation of a person's image. Often times people with poor body image use these photoshopped creations to "fix" a perceived flaw in their appearance.
However, there's a difference between poor body image and a mental health condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder. A condition that can be an all-consuming behavior with damaging effects.
According to doctor Heather Meggers-Wright, Body Dysmorphic Disorder is when someone becomes extremely focused on a perceived deficit in their body. She says the most common areas of concern range from skin imperfections, like wrinkles or blemishes, to facial features. For women, the nose is the most often area focused on. Men focus primarily on their muscles.
There are distinct warning signs to indicate that someone may have BDD. Dr. Meggers-Wright ways a person will do a lot of checking behaviors, like looking in mirrors constantly. Some may also look for reassurance and constantly ask how they look.
BDD affects less than 5% of the population, but it can cause a person significant distress and impact their ability to function day to day. The disorder often affects teens and adolescents, which is the exact age range the Snapchat app caters to.
Once a person starts seeking cosmetic surgeries to alter their appearance, its an indicator of a more severe kind of body dysmorphia.
Dr. Meggers-Wright says the best treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy. She says it helps a person explore the way their thoughts about themselves increase their discomfort, and ultimately find acceptance within themselves.