Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Gynecomastia
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an obsessive-compulsive disorder. BDD is where someone cannot stop thinking about what they perceive as a flaw or defect in their appearance. This flaw appears to others as very minor or non-existent.
People with BDD can’t control their negative thoughts which can cause severe emotional distress. The distress may impact their ability to function in their daily life. They tend to obsess for hours a day which may interfere with school or work. Many will avoid social situations, and they may become very isolated.
Most often BDD develops in the adolescent years and early teens. It affects men and women almost equally. BDD sufferers may focus on any part of their body. Most commonly they focus on their hair, nose, skin, stomach, or their chest.
BDD may be caused by both environmental and biological factors. Possibly malfunctioning serotonin in the brain, genetic predisposition. Life experiences such as child abuse, or bullying could be to blame for BDD.
Some sufferers will attempt to hide their compulsive behavior by camouflaging their flaw with clothing or avoid mirrors. Engaging in excessive grooming, or intense exercise can be a symptom. Others will turn to multiple cosmetic surgeries looking for perfection.
Young men who are going through puberty and develop gynecomastia may experience extreme shame which can lead to low self-esteem. When left unchecked the adolescent boy may find focusing on schoolwork difficult, even failing classes. Interaction with classmates and teachers comes to a halt.
Board certified plastic surgeons are trained to be on the lookout for patients with unrealistic expectations versus patients with a healthy perception of what results they can expect. There is a big difference between low self-esteem and BDD for the gynecomastia patient. For those who are experiencing low self-esteem, corrective male breast reduction surgery can be a life-changing event. For moobs patients with BDD, the expectations of their surgery results will never be met. They will continue to see imperfections, most of which are imagined. It is essential for man boob patients having surgery to have realistic expectations. They need to understand that cosmetic plastic surgery can make tremendous improvements, but will never be perfect.
It is the skilled gynecomastia specialist who can communicate with patients to determine if the patient will benefit from surgery or if the patient needs to be managed by cognitive behavioral therapy and perhaps medication.
Call today for a private consultation with Dr. Miguel Delgado, M.D. (415) 898-4161 for any gynecomastia concerns. Dr. Delgado advises patients who think they may have BDD to consult with their healthcare provider.