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Doctors fear thousands of men are hiding their body image disorders | UK News



Doctors fears that thousands of men are not receiving help when struggling with a body image disorder.

Mental health professionals from the only clinic in the UK which specialises in body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are calling for more information, education and support when it comes to the effects the disorder has on men.

The Body Dysmorphic Foundation believe male body image is a neglected and under-represented area of research.

About one in 50 people in the UK experience BDD, and one in three of those will make an attempt to take their own life.

Dr Amita Jassi, consultant clinical psychologist at Maudsley Hospital in London, says only about 30% of their patients are male – despite research suggesting men and women are equally at risk of the disorder.

She told Sky News: “We really want to try and increase the awareness of BDD particularly in men to support them coming forward.”

Danny is in recovery from BDD

‘I was spending hours in the mirror’

Danny Bowman, from Northumberland, developed BDD 10 years ago when he was 14.

He had moved schools and found it hard to fit in – partially because as a rugby player he was bigger than many of the other boys in his class.

“I wanted to change everything about myself,” he told Sky News.

When pictures of him were posted on Facebook, his peers would write hurtful and mean comments about his appearance which convinced Danny that he was right in thinking there was something wrong with his looks.

He began to obsess over his appearance, spending hours in front of the mirror, taking photos of himself, applying whole tubes of spot cream to his face until it turned red and eventually he began to make himself sick after eating.

“[BDD] rips a person apart… you look at yourself every day and you think that you’re hideous,” he said.

Danny hit a crisis point and made an attempt to take his own life, but a treatment plan was worked out for him with the support of his family and Maudsley Hospital.

He feels fortunate that his family could afford to take him from Northumberland to the hospital in London every week, saying: “I can’t thank enough the psychologist there who pretty much put my life back on track.”

Love Island star on body image pressures

Adam Collard, a contestant on reality TV show Love Island, shared his story of BDD with the nation, telling viewers: “I found myself constantly comparing [myself] to everybody else and because I was unhappy at the time with how I actually looked, I think that’s where it all began.”

Speaking to Sky News in the hopes of raising awareness of BDD, he shared that he has had periods of starving himself, restricting and manipulating his diet in unhealthy ways to achieve certain physiques.

He said: “The pressure is growing and is even worse in males right now.

“Suicide rates and mental health rates is getting worse and especially in young males because they don’t really speak about it.”

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK.

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