Maisie Smith health: EastEnders star reveals condition she’s had since her teens

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Maisie Smith first entered Walford in 2008 as Tiffany Butcher, the daughter of established characters Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer) and Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen). After leaving EastEnders in 2014, Maisie made a full-time return to the soap in 2018. The star will be putting on her dancing shoes this Saturday for the latest season of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Maisie touched her fans back in April when she bravely revealed she has grappled with a mental health battle since her teens.

The star opened up about her body dysmorphia on social media in a song she had penned.

In the clip, Maisie played guitar as she sang: “When I was little I would look in the mirror, holding in my stomach wishing that I was thinner.

“Guess I had a case of body dysmorphia – and I still haven’t shaken it off.”

Dressed down and candid, Maisie continued: “Things were getting heavy, that’s what the scales told me.”

The Strictly star poignantly spoke about the isolation she felt battling the mental health condition as a 13 year-old.

What is body dysmorphia?

According to the NHS, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance.

As the health body explains, these flaws are often unnoticeable to others.

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People of any age can have BDD, but it’s most common in teenagers and young adults. It affects both men and women.

How do I know if I have it?

According to the NHS, you might have BDD if you:

  • Worry a lot about a specific area of your body (particularly your face)
  • Spend a lot of time comparing your looks with other people’s
  • Look at yourself in mirrors a lot or avoid mirrors altogether
  • Go to a lot of effort to conceal flaws – for example, by spending a long time combing your hair, applying make-up or choosing clothes
  • Pick at your skin to make it “smooth”.

“BDD can seriously affect your daily life, including your work, social life and relationships,” says the health body.

If you think you may have BDD, going to your GP is a good place to start.

Mental health charity Mind explains: “Your GP can provide an assessment and diagnosis, and help you access appropriate treatment.”

If you’re worried about going to your GP, you might find it helpful to read our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem, says the charity.

“What you are offered may depend on the severity of your symptoms, but ideally you should be given CBT before you are prescribed any medication,” it says.

According to the NHS, if you have relatively mild symptoms of BDD, you should be referred for a type of talking therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which you have either on your own or in a group.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

“If you have moderate symptoms of BDD, you should be offered either CBT or a type of antidepressant medication called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI),” explains the NHS.

It adds: “If you have more severe symptoms of BDD or other treatments do not work, you should be offered CBT together with an SSRI.”

If you are concerned that you are developing a mental health problem you should seek the advice and support of your GP as a matter of priority.

You may also find the following organisations to be useful sources of information and advice:

  • Anxiety UK
  • International OCD Foundation
  • Mind
  • OCD Action
  • OCD UK.

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