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Study finds those who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder may be at higher risk for suicide.
Body dysmorphic disorder is defined by the Mayo Clinic as, "a type of chronic mental illness in which you can't stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined."
A new study out of Rhode Island Hospital has found a link between restrictive food intake, or excessive dieting, like those exhibited in people who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, with an increased risk of suicide.
According to Science Codex, more than 75 percent of people with body dysmorphic disorder feel life is not worth living or think about suicide in their lifetime. Approximately 25 percent of BDD sufferers have a history of at least one suicide attempt.
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The researchers found the link by examining the association of suicide attempts with physically painful BDD-related behaviors. These behaviors include restrictive food intake, excessive exercise, cosmetic surgery, compulsive skin picking, and physical self-mutilation.
"Significantly limiting food intake can be physically painful. It goes against our natural instincts to feed our bodies and respond to the physical pain that comes with extreme hunger," Dr. Katharine A. Phillips, director of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Program at Rhode Island Hospital, said in a statement.
Phillips further explains the study in this video:
Phillips explained the results of the study suggest it is important to assess individuals suffering from body dysmorphic disorder for restrictive eating habits to help identify if there is a suicide risk.
"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."