Body dysmorphia: What is it and how can it be treated?
Body dysmorphia, more commonly referred to Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), is a serious psychiatric disorder.
Everybody has parts of themselves that they like less than others, but when this dislike manifests in extreme ways, such as obsessive worrying that disrupts regular life, it becomes classified as BDD.
Whilst people of any age can suffer from BDD, it is most common amongst teenagers and young adults.
However, working professionals, caught up in stressful and competitive environments, can also become vulnerable to BDD.
Ironically, the flaws obsessed over by BDD sufferers are often unnoticeable to others.
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Symptoms of BDD
Symptoms of BDD include the following:
- Obsessive worrying over a specific area of the body (especially the face)
- Comparing your looks to others to an extreme degree
- Picking at the skin to make it appear ‘smooth’
- Avoiding social situations due to worries about appearance
As with many phycological disorders, the problem is not the symptoms themselves, but the degree to which they occur.
Everyone will have probably compared their looks to someone else’s at some point, but it is this behaviour to an excessive degree than can characterise the disorder.
Another common misunderstanding is the conflation of body dysmorphia with gender dysphoria.
The latter refers to the distress that occurs from feeling that one has been born into the wrong gender.
Whilst some with gender dysphoria may suffer from BDD, having BDD does not mean you also have gender dysphoria.
Does everyone with an eating disorder have body dysmorphia?
Whilst the two can be connected due to similar obsessive body checking and thinking around the shape and size of the body, there is actually little evidence to show that those with eating disorders also have body dysmorphic disorder.
We can help you with your diagnosis here.
What are the treatments options for body dysmorphia?
BDD is slightly unusual in that it typically requires a number of different treatments.
These are usually a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Serotonin Uptake Inhibitor (SRI) antidepressants.
Data regarding SRIs is especially promising with regard to BDD, with up to three-quarters of patients in a recent study experiencing a 30% reduction in symptoms.
CBT is also highly effective because it enables the patient to change the way they think and behave by discovering what triggers your symptoms and helping to confront them.
CBT is offered by therapists but is also a pathway offered by most rehabs.
Visit online to make a free enquiry into how they can help with BDD.
What resources are available for those with BDD?
Whilst BDD is complex and ideally requires a GP consultation, there is a wealth of online resources with more information.
For detailed guidance on dealing with BDD, visit The NHS website.
For an in-depth overview of the condition, visit Healthline.
Call 0808 115 0608 today and get immediate help.