Is There a Link Between Mental Health and Body Dysmorphia Among Social Media Users?
And though we may fret about our imperfections, they don’t interfere with our daily lives. But people who have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) think about their real or perceived flaws for hours each day. They can't control their negative thoughts and don't believe people who tell them that they look fine. Their thoughts may cause severe emotional distress and interfere with their daily functioning. They may miss work or school, avoid social situations and isolate themselves, even from family and friends, because they fear others will notice their flaws.
In the age of Instagram models, Twitter-famous celebrities, and Tumblr babes, it is no wonder our generation has become so obsessed with the concept of perfection. When scrolling through our feeds, we are exposed to a highly-curated selection of photos, images, and snaps that are far from our reality. Matthew Schulman, a plastic surgeon in New York, says “patients have been coming in with Snapchat filtered selfies to show what they want done to their body.” Constant exposure to altered images can lead to an unhealthy pressure to achieve unrealistic body types, which can result in body dysmorphic behaviors. Social media has become increasingly dangerous, especially for teens, who are most susceptible to suffering from insecurity and depression. At this age, girls and boys are still learning about their own anatomy while dealing with hormones, pressures from school, and other home life distractions. These factors, combined with constant pressure from the media telling young people that they should be thin, curvy, sexy, brainy, cultured or woke, can be very overwhelming on the psyche.
It implies the need for screening excessive use of technology as comorbid condition and psychoeducation for promotion of healthy use of technology. Adolescents with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) have an excessive preoccupation with one or more imagined or minor flaws in their physical appearance, which causes significant distress and impairs their social and occupational functioning (Rief W, Buhlmann U, 2006). They engage in repetitive behaviors such as mirror checking, excessive grooming, reassurance seeking, skin picking, or cloth changing to lessen their anxiety. Though the preoccupation can involve any body part, the most common ones are the skin, hair, nose, eyes, eyelids, mouth, lips, jaw, and chin, and the preoccupation can be focused on several body parts at the same time. The steep growth of smartphones coupled with various other social factors has led to an increase in the selfie phenomenon in India. The selfie phenomenon has grown to almost every brand in every sector hosting a selfie contest. For one, it is cost-effective and another it is easy to instantly share on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and identified with the help of hashtags. Brands have been positively leveraging the power of selfies. Selfie variants are also adding to the brand communication (Gunstad J, Phillips KA. 2003).
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