herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Gazing in mirrors could be bad for health

Looking in the mirror can make people who were happy with their appearance start to feel anxious and ugly, an academic study found.

Volunteers who looked at their reflection for up to 10 minutes at a time gradually became depressed about their looks, even if they had been happy with their appearance.

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry in London had expected the exercise to have a negative effect only on volunteers who had a diagnosis of body dysmorphic disorder, which causes people anxiety about their appearance.

However, the study, published in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy, found: "Healthy participants experienced a similar response."

Psychologists used a study of 50 people to try to establish the extent that mirrors were a trigger for anxiety in patients with the disorder. Andrew Hill, of the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, said: "It's possible that staring at yourself in the mirror for long periods is not a good thing."

jlast@herald.ie

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