Neelesh Shah (name changed) had a unique problem. With no visible major deformities, he walked up to the Sion Hospital on a usual Monday morning about three months ago as he was referred by a dermatologist. He walked hurriedly and sat across the psychiatrist to get better.
“He had already spent about Rs 7 lakhs for various procedures and surgeries. There was really no major deformity. So conscious he was that he stopped going out of his house at all. He had to be admitted at the hospital for a couple of months. He is much better now and has been discharged,” said Dr Vidya Giri Shankar, Specialty Medical officer and psychiatrist at Sion Hospital and LTMG Medical College.
Body shamming in the current scenario is a pretty common problem among teenagers. But what seemed like an equally common problem has now turned out to be a severe disorder. This is not the case alone with Shah. “When a person expresses dissatisfaction about a certain physical aspect about himself /herself beyond a certain point of reason , may have different underpinnings and must be addressed by a psychiatrist because he /she will be invariably unhappy with the results of the cosmetic corrections and would only seek more , going down a spiral of futile consultations with dermatologists and plastic surgeons,” added Dr Giri Shankar.
Doctors say the problem, commonly known as the Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a disorder in which the person feels there is something severely wrong with his appearance and that only if he looks good will he be able to please others.
In other words, it is a psychological condition in which the person obsessively focuses on one apparent or unreal flaw in their physical appearance. “One of the most famous examples of BDD is Michael Jackson. Typically, these patients will keep undergoing different surgeries only because they think something is wrong with their appearance. It is not very prevalent, but not rare either,” said Dr Kersi Chavda, consultant psychiatrist from PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre.
In a recent advertisement of a leading brand, a striking revelation was made by the Rustom actor Ileana D’ Cruz. Known for her stunning smile and ravishing looks, she reveals in the advert that about three years ago, she was depressed. And that she was fighting BDD for the last 15 years.
In the advert, she said “There was a period, approximately three years ago, I’d go from happy to be completely depressed and not knowing what it was. The most comforting thought was, ‘What if I just to end things now.’ And I thankfully released that this is not right.”