What is body dysmorphia, the condition Tami Roman suffers from?

‘I’m extremely thin because that’s what I felt I had to be in order to be beautiful’

Reality star Tami Roman recently gave a candid interview to hit radio show The Breakfast Club. And while Roman talked plenty about her newest project, VH1′s “Unfaithful: Caught in the Act,” it was her brave discussion about her struggles with body dysmorphic disorder that resonated with fans.

“Every day is a challenge. If I see my clavicle and I see bones that’s great to me but to you, you’d be like, Tammy, you need to eat something. I have body dysmorphic disorder. I didn’t realize that I had it for most of my life until I was diagnosed with it in 2008,” Roman explained.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that appears minor or can’t be seen by others. But you may feel so embarrassed, ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations.”

Roman first came to the public eye on the hit 90′s show ”The Real World.” Even then, she’d been struggling with body dysmorphia for years. In one especially concerning episode, Roman had her mouth wired shut in order to lose weight.

“A lot of the story was missing, primarily because I wasn’t as open and as transparent as I should have been,” she told the Los Angeles Times.

BDD is a mental health condition that causes a person to worry and think about flaws or defects in their appearance. Most times, those flaws only exist to the person and not the general public.

Symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder include:

  • Worrying a lot about a specific area of your body (particularly your face)
  • Spending a lot of time comparing your looks with other people’s
  • Spending excessive time looking at yourself in the mirror — or, conversely, avoiding mirrors altogether
  • Making an excessive effort to conceal perceived flaws
  • Picking obsessively at your skin to make it “smooth”

While the causes of BDD are unclear, most mental health professionals point to traumatic experiences in the past – individuals are far more likely to develop the disorder if they were teased, bullied or abused as a child. Individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or depression are also more likely to suffer from body dysmorphia.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 2.5% of women and 2.2% of men suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. While those reported percentages don’t seem so high, they’ve increased dramatically among younger people, perhaps due to increased social media use.

While Roman continues to struggle with the disorder, her career has taken off. Roman’s “Bonnet Chronicles” videos are a hit on social media and she’s a fan favorite on BET’s hit “The Ms. Pat Show.”

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