For some men, it manifests as bulking up obsessively beyond what is realistic.
Others get eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. "It is difficult to give an accurate figure owing to the lack of research in this area in South Africa, as well as the reluctance of males to seek treatment," says Jasmin Kooverjee-Kathard, principal clinical psychologist at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital.
It is close to midnight but the young man is staring into the mirror, transfixed.
I filed my own teeth with a razorto try to make them even. I thought myarm and leg hair was ugly and dirty and tried to cover it up."People would say I was the one with the personality. specific features." One symptom of the disorder is to spend hours and hours stuck in front of a mirror, or looking into a mirror more often than usual.I began to look at my brother's image as perfection." Counselling and medical treatment helped him to become functional. Everything about my face is horrible, from the lines that I see, the size of my pores . "For me the line between eating disorders and this is a small one.A healthy diet is the ultimate self-care ritual, and someone with poor self-esteem may feel undeserving of such care or pleasure." Schreuder said it was not easy to pick up when someone had an eating disorder."The disorders are often so well managed by the patient that they can go unnoticed for a long time."Some patients may seem perfectly healthy, but endure enormous struggles with food and self-esteem."It is not unusual for a family to be unaware of the extent of damaging behaviour until much time has passed." “I picked my skin until I gave myself scars, then I stayed in my room to pick at thescars rather than go outside the house with family or friends.One of the things Iused to do was to keep looking at my scars in the mirror until they became outof focus, as my eyes grew tired."Gazing from different angles and not wanting to blink, I was drawn to the things that I hated and it caused me a lot of distress.It felt as if the mirror would drag me towards it and scream ugly names at me."Body obsession is relatively normal for people during adolescence.The warning signs are when it becomes more pervasive, affecting the individual's daily functioning and causing distress.Body dysmorphic disorder is based on a distorted sense of one's body image, says the author of a local study, psychologist Matthew Mulholland.In his 2016 study, based at the University of Pretoria, Mulholland found there was no race or gender distinction among sufferers.