Body dysmorphia, or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), is a mental health condition which is characterized by obsessions about flaws (which may or may not be realistic) of one’s own bodily appearance. To be diagnosed with body dysmorphia, one must experience obsession so severe that it debilitates other aspects of life. For example, a person struggling with body dysmorphic disorder may avoid social scenarios in attempts to hide the various aspects of their body they don’t like from other people.
What is Body Dysmorphia Like?
The obsession over physical appearance or a specific flaw that those with body dysmorphia live with can become extreme. This can result in obsessive behaviors like constantly looking in a mirror, asking others for reassurance, and continuous grooming. In any case, these behaviors can intensify the anxiety surrounding body image. And, keep people from doing the daily things they need to establish a healthy lifestyle.
Symptoms of Body Dysmorphia
As stated, living with body dysmorphia can become debilitating. So, it can bring about a number of different symptoms including:
- Caring largely about a bodily flaw that others may not notice or even believe exists.
- Avoidance of social situations for fear that others may notice the obsessive flaw.
- Trying to hide a flaw by putting on makeup, covering it up, checking in the mirror, and other obsessive behaviors without control.
- Thinking that others are overly preoccupied about or notice the specific flaw.
- Needing reassurance from others about how the flaw looks or if it’s noticeable.
- Frequently comparing bodily appearance with that of others.
- Wanting to undergo severe cosmetic procedures in order to “fix” a specific flaw.
- Believing that a specific flaw makes one deformed or even ugly.
Parts of the Body Frequently Obsessed About by Individuals Diagnosed with BDD
Body dysmorphia can include obsessions about multiple parts of the body. And, these specific obsessions can actually change to other parts of the body in the long term. But, the most common body parts individuals diagnosed with BDD obsess over may include:
- Nose shape
- Skin complexion
- Acne and/or blemishes
- Hair (either bodily or on the scalp)
While some people may believe that their dysmorphic beliefs about specific body parts are absolutely true, others may understand that their obsessions may not be entirely realistic. In either case, if the obsession continues, it can mean the presence of this mental condition.
What is Body Dysmorphia Treatment Like?
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your life, you may be experiencing BDD. And, while it seems like you’ll never get rid of the struggle of these symptoms, there is hope through treatment to get better. Treatment for body dysphoria includes behavioral, holistic, and cognitive therapies that aim to help individuals address negative thinking patterns. And, learn new methods of positive thinking to live out healthier lives.
Here at Willow Place for Women, we help women struggling with body dysmorphia learn how to live without their bodily obsessions. We understand that eating disorders are mental health conditions, so there is no one cure-all. However, there are methods of managing mental health symptoms in daily life so that women can live without the debilitating symptoms of their conditions.
If you or a loved one is struggling with body dysmorphia, find hope in the help you can receive from those who have been in your shoes. If you’re looking for an eating disorder treatment that’s developed by women for women, we are here for you! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.