Body Dysmorphia Symptoms and Treatments – What Research Says?


About Body Dysmorphia Disorder

Body Dysmorphia Disorder or BDD is a serious mental disorder that affects millions of people every year in the United States. This disorder makes you feel like you have many flaws or body abnormalities and causes you to focus solely on those and the way you believe that people perceive you and your “flaws.”

In the majority of cases reported, the person suffering from this disorder claimed to have serious abnormalities that they focused on, but other people were unable to see. Sometimes the flaws they stated having were minor or non-existent to other people, but the person suffering noticed them at all times and could not pull themselves away from thinking of their problems.

BDD causes significant stress on the person who is suffering from this disorder. They spend the majority, if not all, of their time checking their appearance in the mirror. They are looking for assurance from themselves on what they deem to be abnormal about their appearance. This extends further than a teenager checking their appearance for vanity reasons. This is a serious mental disorder that people truly suffer from.

Causes Of Body Dysmorphia Disorder

There are no cut and dry causes for Body Dysmorphia Disorder, and doctors and experts aren’t exactly positive why it occurs. But there are items that definitely contribute to BDD. People who suffer from BDD may have a slight brain difference, or an abnormal balance in their neurochemistry. Your genes also may play a role in BDD.

If someone you are directly related to has BDD or even OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) you may be at a higher risk of BDD. Due to the lack of research on what truly causes this disorder, it is important for those who seek out medical treatment to inform their doctor of every symptom they are having and if they have a relative who has suffered from this disorder as well. Not only will this allow their doctor to give them the best medical treatment possible, it will also help with research efforts that are trying to find a cure for this disorder.

Signs & Symptoms

There are symptoms of Body Dysmorphia Disorder that you should watch for if you think you or someone you know may be suffering from the disorder. There are also treatment options available depending on the level of severity for the person who has the disorder. Let’s look at the symptoms first.

  • You are always distracted by a flaw that you believe you have that cannot be seen by others, or may be hard for others to see due to the minority of it.
  • You believe that this flaw makes you ugly or deformed, or that you do not have the appearance of other “normal” people.
  • You believe that everyone you encounter on a daily basis is only looking at your flaw and that they secretly make fun of you for it.
  • You are sometimes unable to go out in public situations due to the severe effect that your perceived flaw has on you or you avoid any social interactions so that you will not be made fun of.
  • You compare your appearance to those of the people around you whenever you are out in public. You are looking for flaws in them to see if their flaws measure up to your flaws.
  • You are obsessed with cosmetic surgery to try to fix the flaws and abnormalities that you believe you have. If you find that even after having these procedures done, that you are always unhappy with how they turn out.
  • You become so focused on your flaws that it causes you large amounts of stress and you are unable to focus on anything else in your life. You are completely consumed with how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.

Body Dysmorphia Disorder Treatment

If you have experienced any of those symptoms on a daily basis or you cannot focus on anything other than what you perceive your flaw to be, it is time to consult with a doctor. Like most other mental disorders, Body Dysmorphia Disorder will not simply go away after a few weeks or months. It is something that will stay with you unless you are willing to take the necessary steps to get help. BDD can actually get worse without treatment and can cause other disorders to form, such as an eating disorder. There are three main treatment options to help people with BDD and all of them involve being treated by a medical professional.


The first step on your road to recovery will usually come in the form of meeting with a therapist. A therapist can help you work through some of the issues that you are having with BDD. They will do a cognitive behavior therapy, which means they will help you to turn those negative, hateful thoughts about yourself into something positive. So instead of bashing yourself, you will learn how to love yourself for who you are and what you look like.


If you are suffering from a severe form of Body Dysmorphia, your doctor may prescribe you medication to take. This is usually taken in conjunction with seeing a therapist so that you will have a double dose of treatment at one time. If you are not suffering from a moderate to severe form of BDD, then you may not need any prescription medications.

Hospital Stays

For those who are suffering from a severe form of BDD, have tried other forms of treatment without success, and who may be in a life or death situation, a doctor may recommend a hospital stay. This would be a stay in the psychiatric ward at a hospital, where you would receive treatment for your disorder by trained professionals. This treatment is more of a last resort for those who are a danger to themselves or to others around them.

All mental disorders are something that should be taken seriously and should be brought to the attention of your medical doctor as quickly as possible. By acting quickly, you can get the help you need to not only get better, but to be able to feel better about youself.


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