Young girl struggles to overcome BDD - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Young girl struggles to overcome BDD

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A teenager that has been suffering from body dysmorphic disorder or BDD, and other mental illnesses after being bullied by her four classmates in Woonsocket last year, is back in the hospital and struggling to stay alive.

For her mother, Holly Gingerella, it's been a long road since a purported video of the beating was posted on YouTube.

The 13-year-old victim, Alicia, has been admitted to Butler Hospital in Providence for around-the-clock care after multiple suicide attempts. Gingerella said the doctors at Butler could watch over her, but the hospital does not treat specific diagnoses.

Rhode Island Hospital boasts a BDD clinic for patients suffering from the disease, and its organizer, Dr. Katharine Phillips, is one of the leading experts in the world.

"It does appear that being bullied, being teased may in fact increase the risk of getting this disorder," Phillips said.

Gingerella said she tried to take her daughter to be treated at the clinic, but it will only accept patients who are 18 years old or older.

"I was frustrated for one," Gingerella said, "I didn't know there was an age limit for how old you have to be to get help."

Gingerella and the doctors at Butler think Alicia needs to be put in an in-patient treatment center.

"For the treatment center in Chicago, it's $60,000 for a two-month stay," Gingerella said.

It's money Gingerella doesn't have, and the centers usually don't accept insurance and require cash-only payments.

The subject of bullying has made waves in Hollywood.

The critically-acclaimed film "Bully" exposed several horrifying truths about young people who have been bullied. The movie's director, Lee Hirsch, recently spoke to NBC 10.

"Bullying, like other forms of abuse, leaves long-lasting scars," Hirsch said. "Emotional scars and in some cases, physical scars and of course in some cases, there are some kids that take their lives."

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