Ugly ; at Least, That's What This Miss GB Finalist Thinks She Is. Why? Beca She Has Body Dysmorphic Disord

By Jonathan Owen and Sophie Goodchild | The Independent on Sunday (London, England), March 5, 2006 | Go to article overview
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Ugly ; at Least, That's What This Miss GB Finalist Thinks She Is. Why? Beca She Has Body Dysmorphic Disord


Jonathan Owen and Sophie Goodchild, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)


As she stood on the stage under spotlights, Racheal Baughan should have been beaming with pride. Her eyes sparkled, her dark hair shone and judges had decreed she was one of the most beautiful women in Britain. But inside she was shaking with fear. For the 25- year-old is convinced she is ugly.

Ms Baughan, a Miss Great Britain finalist, suffers from a condition that was virtually unknown 20 years ago, but now afflicts more than 600,000 people across the UK. Those struck by Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) sink into months of deep depression, with some of them turning to self-harm and even contemplating suicide. Now medics fear that the condition could be spreading rapidly, thanks partly to television makeover shows. They are warning that a new programme due to air on Five this summer could exacerbate the situation.

Bride and Grooming follows six unmarried couples who are separated from each other while they undergo a surgical transformation before being reunited on their wedding day.

Plastic surgery specialists and psychiatrists say this is exactly the type of programme that has led to BDD taking a grip on young people.

Britain's first BDD clinic has been set up at London's Maudsley Hospital and guide lines will be released later this month for cosmetic surgeons to screen prospective patients for signs of the disorder.

The illness, which has been compared to eating disorders such as bulimia, usually starts in adolescence but remains largely unnoticed.

Many sufferer scan remain undiagnosed for years, often resorting to endless cosmetic treatments in a futile attempt to fix their "problem".

Racheal Baughan's teenage years were blighted by bouts of imagined ugliness. "There were times when I hated the look of myself so much that I couldn't face anyone," said Ms Baughan, who is from Sussex.

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