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Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Complications

Body dysmorphic disorder causes people high amounts of anxiety and distress, often impairing their social life and performance at school or work. People with BDD may find it difficult go out and take part in social activities because of intense fear that their appearance might be judged in a negative way. Chronic BDD often leads to depression, social isolation, unnecessary medical procedures that yield unsatisfactory results for the patient.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Definition

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a psychological disorder that involves a distorted body image. It is generally diagnosed in those who are extremely critical of their self-image, despite the fact that there may be no noticeable disfigurement or defect on their physique. It is characterized by an excessive preoccupation with a real or imagined defect in one's physical appearance. People with this disorder have a distorted or exaggerated view of their physical appearance and are obsessed with actual external characteristics or perceived flaws, such as certain facial features or imperfections of their skin. They often think of themselves as disfigured or ugly. People with body dysmorphic disorder often have difficulties controlling negative thoughts concerning their appearance, even when others reassure them that they look fine and that the small or perceived flaws aren't excessive or obvious.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Symptoms and Signs

Individuals affected with this disorder may compulsively check the mirror and glance at any reflective surface. Alternatively, some people have the inability to look at their own reflection and may even have the mirrors around their house taken down. Compulsive skin-touching may also be involved, especially to feel or measure the perceived defect. They may also have obsessive and elaborate grooming behaviors, such as picking, combing hair, plucking eyebrows, and shaving. People affected with this disorder may also excessively seek reassurance from their loved ones and may even withdraw from social situations wherein their physical flaws and defects might easily be perceived. There may also be an obsession with plastic surgery, which leads to little satisfactory results for the patient. In extreme cases, patients have even attempted to perform plastic surgery on themselves, often with disastrous results. They have tried to remove undesired features with a knife or other sharp tools when the center of the concern is on a small area, such as a mole or other such feature on the skin.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Treatment

Doctors who treat people with BDD often use a combination of medications and psychotherapy to help them overcome this disorder. Antidepressants are given to help alleviate the signs and symptoms of BDD, while cognitive behavior therapy (or talk therapy) identifies unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replaces them with healthy, positive ones. Careful attention to the patient's thoughts may be coupled with certain behavioral assignments, such as decreasing the amount of time one checks on his appearance in the mirror, or increased exposure, such as going out in public more often.

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