Robbie Williams announces he suffers from body dysmorphia: What is the disorder?

Robbie Williams shared a moving message on his Instagram in which the singer announces his struggles with body image. Learn about the disorder he suffers from.

Robbie Williams announces he suffers from body dysmorphia: What is the disorder?
© Europa Press News / GETTY IMAGES
Robbie Williams announces he suffers from body dysmorphia: What is the disorder?

TW: Body dysmorphia, self hatred, eating disorder, self harm, suicide

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On 17 July, in a late night Instagram post, singer Robbie Williams announced that he suffers from body dysmorphia. In his post, the man chooses to share the news using the drawings his Instagram page is known for. On it you can see a drawing of two stick figures talking about their issues with weight.

Written in bold and taking most of the image you can read:

My ideal goal weight is people being worried about me.

Over the years, the former Take That member has gone through ups and down with his weight and in recent months fans had noticed a significant weight loss.

This is not the first time Robbie Williams has shared a drawing talking about health conditions. On 19 June he shared that he was diagnosed as dyslexic. While this condition is known to the wider public, body dysmorphia isn't.

Let's see what the disorder is and how it can impact lives.

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A post shared by Robbie Williams (@robbiewilliams)

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Robbie Williams announces he suffers from body dysmorphia

On 17 July, Robbie Williams decided to share his diagnosis of having body dysmorphia. While the drawing used as the Instagram post is concerning because of its text, the singer also shared a lengthy caption.

In it, Williams starts with a relatable question: if a genie asked you to choose between the ability to fly and the ability to eat whatever you want without gaining weight. While this question can seem innocent, the answer does reveal a lot.

Robbie Williams says 'I would go for goal eating everyday.' In his caption, the star continues and decides to share more of the struggles the disorder has brought on. The words he chooses are deliberately hard to read, highlighting the hardships the disorder puts his victims through.

Williams writes:

I could write a book about self loathing where my body image is concerned.
Like pure self hatred, The ugliness of feeling ugly.

Williams also shares with his fans that this is a disorder that has plagued his life forever and that the 'sadness' is brings is 'shocking.'

Finally, Williams reveals his goal in sharing this heartfelt post. He says:

If someone else recognises themselves in the words I’ve written maybe it helps both of us.

If you do recognise yourself in Williams' words, read on as we will now tell you what body dysmorphia is and how it can impact your life.

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A post shared by Robbie Williams (@robbiewilliams)

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What is body dysmorphia?

Body dysmorphia is described by the NHS as:

a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance.

The NHS also points out that thisdisorder can impact people from a very young age, both male and female.

According to an official government document surveying mental health in children and adolescent, body dysmorphia impacts '1%' of people between '5 and 19 years old.'

Just like Robbie Williams put forward, the disorder is often accompanied with other mental health issues. While he speaks of 'self acceptance' and 'self love', the government documents that the disorder is often linked to other conditions like 'depression, anxiety and eating disorders.'

What are the symptoms of body dysmorphia?

According to the NHSthere are 5 key symptoms to look out for to know if you suffer from the disorder. The first one is about worrying about 'a specific area' of your body. For example, Robbie Williams confesses in his post that he particularly worries about his weight.

Another symptom listed is skin picking which is another disorder that consists of picking at your skin in order to make it smooth. People with body dysmorphia also spend a considerable amount of time comparing themselves to others and they can also over look at themselves in mirrors or avoid those altogether.

The NHS does highlight the fact that this disorder can 'seriously affect your daily life, including your work, social life and relationships.'

They also specify that it can lead to 'self-harm and thoughts of suicide.'

Where to get help

The first advice the NHS gives is to get in touch with your GP. Once you have gotten in touch with them, they will assess the situation and might refer you to a mental health professional.

The NHS writes:

Getting help is important because your symptoms probably will not go away without treatment and may get worse.

But don't be afraid, there are treatments for treating body dysmorphia.

The NHS also has a list of talking therapy linked here: NHS talking therapies service



NHS: Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)

NHS: skin picking disorder

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