BBC

OVERFOCUSING: POWERFUL FUEL FOR BDD

Overfocusing, or selective attention, might cause dissatisfaction with appearance. It may even create a type of visual distortion, in that focusing on one particular aspect of appearance gives that area visual prominence and makes it very noticeable. Other aspects of appearance fade into the background and may even be ignored. The view becomes unbalanced. By emphasizing the defect, it becomes unduly negative. One woman told me, “I can’t even see my own face. All I see is my defect.” Another said, “I focus on the negative things, and they become too prominent. I lose my balance; I get tunnel vision. I put too much weight on one particular aspect and get bogged down in it.” One of my patients said that focusing on a small pimple would cause it to “grow to hideous proportions.” He made a mountain out of a molehill. A man I treated said, “It’s like when I put my thumb under a microscope—that’s how I see my skin. I’m like a walking microscope—my perspective is off. I can’t see my whole face the way other people do.”
These comments fit with the neuropsychological study results discussed in chapter 10, which showed that people with BDD overfocus on minor, irrelevant details and don’t see the big picture. They miss the forest for the trees. Extrapolating to appearance, rather than seeing all of themselves and focusing on liked—as well as disliked—body areas, they seem to overfocus on and selectively attend to disliked areas, which unduly influences their ratings of overall attractiveness and makes them negative . Furthermore, as shown in the figure, individuals come to the conclusion that they look bad based on “selective interpretation”—this conclusion is based on “evidence” that other people don’t see as valid (e.g., thinking you’re being stared at).
Self-portraits of people with BDD also illustrate this. They tend to emphasize the perceived defect while giving only cursory attention to other body parts. One woman, for example, drew a massive, messy, and detailed head of hair while portraying the rest of her body as a stick figure. A man’s self-portrait consisted only of 3 views of his nose, covered with huge and gaping holes.
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OVERFOCUSING: POWERFUL FUEL FOR BDDOverfocusing, or selective attention, might cause dissatisfaction with appearance. It may even create a type of visual distortion, in that focusing on one particular aspect of appearance gives that area visual prominence and makes it very noticeable. Other aspects of appearance fade into the background and may even be ignored. The view becomes unbalanced. By emphasizing the defect, it becomes unduly negative. One woman told me, “I can’t even see my own face. All I see is my defect.” Another said, “I focus on the negative things, and they become too prominent. I lose my balance; I get tunnel vision. I put too much weight on one particular aspect and get bogged down in it.” One of my patients said that focusing on a small pimple would cause it to “grow to hideous proportions.” He made a mountain out of a molehill. A man I treated said, “It’s like when I put my thumb under a microscope—that’s how I see my skin. I’m like a walking microscope—my perspective is off. I can’t see my whole face the way other people do.”These comments fit with the neuropsychological study results discussed in chapter 10, which showed that people with BDD overfocus on minor, irrelevant details and don’t see the big picture. They miss the forest for the trees. Extrapolating to appearance, rather than seeing all of themselves and focusing on liked—as well as disliked—body areas, they seem to overfocus on and selectively attend to disliked areas, which unduly influences their ratings of overall attractiveness and makes them negative . Furthermore, as shown in the figure, individuals come to the conclusion that they look bad based on “selective interpretation”—this conclusion is based on “evidence” that other people don’t see as valid (e.g., thinking you’re being stared at).Self-portraits of people with BDD also illustrate this. They tend to emphasize the perceived defect while giving only cursory attention to other body parts. One woman, for example, drew a massive, messy, and detailed head of hair while portraying the rest of her body as a stick figure. A man’s self-portrait consisted only of 3 views of his nose, covered with huge and gaping holes.*213\204\8*

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 27th, 2010 at 9:28 am and is filed under Anti Depressants-Sleeping Aid. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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