Body image issues can even affect the most famous of people. Karan Johar recently opened up about his struggle with the body dysmorphia.

Do you ever get the feeling that you don’t like the way you look in the mirror or photographs? Well, it’s majorly because of the constant need to live up to unattainable beauty standards. Thanks to this, our perceptions of ourselves have become tragically distorted and we have become our worst critic. Celebrities, who are often seen as an epitome of perfection aren’t immune to this struggle either. The constant exposure to the limelight and audience makes them vulnerable to certain body image issues, including body dysmorphia. The latest to come forward with his struggle with body image issues is famous filmmaker Karan Johar.

Karan Johar opens up about struggling with body dysmorphia

Opening about his struggle with body dysmorphia in a recent interview with Faye D’ Souza, Karan Johar talked about how nothing has changed despite seeking professional help. “I have body dysmorphia, I am very awkward getting into a pool. I don’t know how to do it without feeling pathetic. I’ve tried very hard to overcome it. No matter what success you achieve, no matter who you think you are in your own head,” Karan Johar said.

Karan Johar
Karan Johar wears oversize clothes because of body image issues. Image courtesy: Instagram| Karan Johar

BDD, or body dysmorphic disorder, is a mental health condition. You can find it difficult to lead a regular life if you have BDD because of your extreme dissatisfaction with the way your body looks, as per the data by John Hopkins Medicine. When a person suffers from BDD, their response to these things can get out of control.

“Even if I lose the weight, and I try very hard, I’m always battling with it, but I’m always feeling I’m fat. So I don’t want you to see any part of my body,” added the 52-year-old filmmaker.

Body shaming yourself is a sign of body dysmorphic disease. Regardless of trying multiple therapies, Johar shared that nothing has changed since he was eight years old. Body dysmorphia can hit you at a young age, and can last a long time unless you seek help.

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Explaining his struggle to make peace with the way he looks, Johar said, “Even in situations of intimacy, I need to put the lights out. I’ve been to therapy for it. All these issues…all fester and create mental health issues. I even took medication after suffering from a panic attack.”

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Body image issues are common

As per a 2016 study published in the Journal Cureus, around two percent of the population in the world suffers from body dysmorphic disorder. While it can affect anyone, an issue or condition becomes more talked about when a celebrity opens up about it. In the case of body dysmorphia, many celebrities from the likes of Priyanka Chopra to Sonam Kapoor to Illeana D’cruz have opened up about struggling with body image issues.

Illeana D’Cruz has often shared about her struggle with body image. But over the years, she has learnt to embrace the way she looks. “Imperfections are a part of life and one should learn to love who you are. You are a human being and are allowed to be imperfect, and you are allowed to be flawed. There is a lot of beauty in your imperfections, in your uniqueness,” she shared.

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Not just celebrities in Bollywood, the tide of Body Dysmorphic Disorder has also taken Hollywood in its grip with famous celebs such as Megan Fox, Billie Eilish, Sam Smith, and many more struggling with the disorder. Opening up to Sports Illustrated, Megan Fox shared that for her, body dysmorphia is a constant battle and the journey to loving herself is going to be “never-ending.”

Billie Eilish had shared with Rolling Stone that her body dysmorphia was worst at dancing school. The constant struggle with finding confidence in herself and feeling insecure, she calls it the “peak of my body dysmorphia. I couldn’t look in the mirror at all.”

Body dysmorphia can lead to health issues

It is believed that signs of BDD are mild at first and they may worsen over time.
Body dysmorphia can be treated and it is vital to address it to avoid problems. A study published in the journal Psychology and Psychiatry found that people who suffer from BDD are “facing debilitating problems including detecting emotions, over-reliance on detail processing, aberrant eye-scanning behaviors, and a tendency to overvalue attractiveness.” It was also found that if left unattended, BDD may lead to more serious mental health disorders, uniformed cosmetic procedures, or even suicide.

Sad woman sitting on a couch
Body dysmorphia can affect anyone. Image courtesy: Freepik

Body dysmorphia can lead to severe problems, including suicide. In a 2024 study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, it was found that people with body dysmorphic disorder are three times more likely to commit self-harm. Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that people with BDD are at a higher risk of developing substance use disorders.

BDD treatment can also result in a type of remission, in which your symptoms may reduce, disappear, or fade completely. Even though relapses are likely, where symptoms worsen, resurface, or return, getting therapy can help you manage BDD and limit its impact on your life.

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