Excessive Dieting Linked To Increased Suicide Attempts For Those With Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a condition where those suffering become obsessed with perceived flaws in their appearance, leading to sometimes debilitating anxiety and the belief that something is wrong with the way they look.

A new study, reported by Psych Central, states that researchers from Rhode Island Hospital and Auburn University found Body Dysmorphic Disorder related restrictive food intake was associated with more than double the number of suicide attempts.

Suicide and Body Dysmorphic Disorder is not an uncommon link. Psych Central reports that 75 percent of those with Body Dysmorphic Disorder believe that life is not worth living, while 25 percent have a history of suicide attempts.

“This study suggests that those who are capable of enduring such physical discomfort and pain from restrictive eating also may be capable of enduring the physical discomfort required to inflict self-harm,” Elizabeth R. Didie, Ph.D. told Psych Central.

The condition has seen increased visibility in the last year after 24-year-old Nathaniel Asselin killed himself on April 15, 2011 after suffering a 13-year battle with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. According to CollegeNews.com, since the fifth grade, Nathaniel obsessed over his appearance, causing him to spiral deeper into depression.

After his death, Nathaniel’s father, Denis Asselin, embarked on 525-mile walk from Philadelphia to Boston in memory of Nathaniel, and to raise awareness of a condition many people don’t know about.

“My primary goals are to tell Nathaniel’s story — so that awareness about brain disorders, especially OCD and BDD, can spread far and wide,” Denis Asselin told CNN. “And to raise much-needed funds for the International OCD Foundation so research and programs can help other sufferers, their families and their friends.”

Approximately one to two percent of the world’s population may meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

(Photo courtesy of Denis Asselin)