Body Dysmorphia: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Body Dysmorphia: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

At Banyan Treatment Centers, our eating disorder programs cover a multitude of conditions, ranging from anorexia nervosa to other specific feeding and eating disorders . A thorough assessment by a mental health professional such as a therapist or psychiatrist is useful to sort out whether or not someone has an eating disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, or both. People who have body dysmorphic disorder are preoccupied or obsessed with one or more perceived flaws in their appearance. This preoccupation or obsession typically focuses on one or more body areas or features, such as their skin, hair, or nose.

It doesn’t need to be a long, formal entry and it’s not about correct spelling or grammar. This exercise can be as simple as jotting down a few words. Set aside a few minutes each day and just let it flow naturally. It may be helpful to have a designated time to do this and utilize the same journal or app. Aside from seeking professional help, remember that self-help can be a powerful tool. Compulsive thoughts and behaviors do not need to control your life.

Individuals with BDD suffer from significant emotional distress that can feel overwhelming, and/or difficulties in their daily functioning. For example, they can have trouble focusing or concentrating, being around other people, dating, socializing, or doing schoolwork or a job. These difficulties contribute to diminished quality of life, which may be severe. In some cases, BDD may lead to repeated psychiatric hospitalization and suicide.

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?

Get matched with a professional, licensed, and vetted therapist in less than 48 hours. You may feel like there’s nothing you can do to feel better about the way you look—at least short of plastic surgery or a magic wand. But with the right coping techniques, you can develop the ability to “step outside of yourself” and view your appearance in a more holistic and positive way. You may take extreme measures such as repeated cosmetic surgical procedures to correct the perceived flaw. If your symptoms get worse or you experience new symptoms, tell your healthcare provider. The most common areas are your face, hair, skin, chest, and stomach.

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To be diagnosed with body dysmorphia, the preoccupation with your appearance must negatively affect your life and/or cause significant emotional distress. Your healthcare provider may also specify whether you have muscle dysmorphia, a type of body dysmorphia that involves worrying about appearing “too small” or not muscular enough. When left untreated, BDD can lead to serious negative consequences.

But if your preoccupation with your appearance causes you significant distress or interferes with your day-to-day life, those are signs that you’re dealing with a bigger problem. Researchers aren’t quite sure what causes BDD, but according to Mayo Clinic, genes could play a role. The disorder is more common in people with family members who also have the disorder, so there might be some sort of genetic marker that’s passed from one generation to the next that causes these unusual thinking patterns.

At some point, the person suffering has performed repetitive actions or thoughts in response to the concerns. This may be something like continuously comparing their appearance to that of others, mirror checking, or skin picking. Individuals with BDD also seek out treatments from paraprofessionals, for instance, seeking electrolysis, hair plugs, and other types of nonmedical treatments. To learn more about the SRIs used for BDD and typical dosages, read the Medication FAQ here. Treating addiction frequently involves a suite of connected services including treatment groups, individual therapy, medication management, peer support, and complementary therapies.

If this person in your life has a hard time accepting their body, they probably tend to isolate themselves so no one can see them. Regardless of the situation, they’ll want to stay somewhere there are fewer chances of exposing it to someone. Because of this intense fear of rejection, they don’t bother making an effort with others, convinced it will lead nowhere.

However, after they had experienced the assault, all 10 had MD and 7 began using steroids. It’s thought that bodybuilders and other people who lift weights are at a higher risk than the general population. If a person with BDD opens up to you and tries talking about their feelings or what they believe about their bodies, they probably feel scared and vulnerable, and are placing a great deal of trust in you. Listening can show them they’re not alone and that someone cares about them regardless of how they feel about themselves.