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What causes an obsession with physical appearance?

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Quick Answer

Having an obsession with physical appearance may be an indication that a person has a condition known as body dysmorphic disorder. TeensHealth explains that BDD is a condition characterized by excessive concern over facial features and body shape, often to the point that a person is unable to take part in daily activities or contribute to society.

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Full Answer

Body dysmorphic disorder is a rising problem among adolescents and adults because of the increase in advertising and the idea that physical perfection is achievable. Individuals with BDD are unable to control their negative beliefs and look past physical flaws, whether real or imagined. Fixation over a crooked nose, uneven smile or eye shape may be enough to trigger depression in a person with BDD.

Furthermore, the pressure placed by magazines, celebrity culture and beauty standards affect people suffering from BDD. Since women often feel expected to be beautiful, the majority of people with BDD are adolescent and adult women. Although the condition is characterized by excessive concern over appearances, it does not imply that a person is vain or self-obsessed. Instead, according to NHS, "the person believes they are ugly or defective and that others perceive them in this way, despite reassurances from others about their appearance."

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