Body dysmorphic disorder

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Body dysmorphic disorder is a disease quite common, with severe mental impairment, which is often undiagnosed. It is classified as a somatoform disorder. However, some believe that it can be considered part of the spectrum of obsessive-compounds or psychotic.

Key feature of this disorder is an excessive concern for an imagined defect in appearance or a disproportionate interest in relation to a slight physical anomaly.

These concerns often involve the nose, ears, face, hair or sexuality issues. However the patient can focus on any part of the body.


1. Overview
2. Body dysmorphic disorder’s symptoms
3. Treatment

Body dysmorphic disorder’s symptoms

Some of the warning signs of these conditions include
- Engaging in time-consuming and repetitive behaviors such as staring in the mirror, trying to hide or cover the perceived defect
- Constant request of different reassurance that the problem is not visible or too obvious
- Repeatedly analyze or touch of the area with that “defect”
- Dealing with problems at work or at school or in various types of relationships because of inability to decentralized the perceived defect
- Desire for isolation and a feeling of anxiety around other people
- Frequent visits to various doctors, such as plastic surgeons, dermatologists find ways to improve the appearance
- Stress and anxiety triggered by perceived defect and its focus on long periods of time

The most frequent areas of interest for people suffering of body dysmorphic disorder include:

- Imperfections of the skin – wrinkles, scars, acne, blemishes and facial lines, stretch marks, pale skin, thinning hair, excessive body hair, big nose or crooked nose
- Imperfections of hair – head, body hair or absence of hair
- Facial – very often it’s nose but could be involved any body shape and size
- Body weight – can be present obsession with body weight or muscle tone.

Other areas of interest include penis size, muscles, breasts, thighs, buttocks and the presence of certain body odors.


1. Drugs – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are antidepressants that reduce compulsive and obsessive behaviors.

2. Cognitive behavior therapy – This is a type of therapy that involves several steps:

- Therapist ask the patient to engage in various types of social situations without masking his defect.
- The therapist helps the patient to stop compulsive behaviors including checking or hiding defects. This stage refers to the elimination of mirrors, to actions like covering skin areas considered unattractive or cosmetics.
- The therapist helps the patient to change false beliefs about his appearance.

Body dysmorphic disorder affects both men and women equally. Women often suffer from comorbid anxiety and panic disorder and are often obsessed with breasts and legs.



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