Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is a psychological condition that is characterized by an individual being persecuted with perceived defects in physical appearance that are not seen by others. They strongly believe they look ugly and disregard when they are given a compliment for their looks. The flaws they notice in themselves with their body or appearance are usually not noticed by others. They repetitively think about how they look and compare their appearance with others and engage in repetitive behaviors such as checking the mirrors, constantly grooming, or seeking assurance about their looks. It is quite normal for people to think about how they look and how to beautify their appearance. However, it becomes abnormal when the person is preoccupied with their appearance concerns, which are unwanted, intrusive, and time-consuming. All these cause significant distress in their daily functioning in all aspects of their lives. People with BDD may socially withdraw themselves. They may even seek cosmetic treatments or body-altering surgeries. Their self-esteem is associated with their appearance which can result in self harming behaviour or suicidal.

They are obsessed with one or more body parts or how they should look. Some of the common focus is on lips, nose, chest, chin/jawline, legs, and eyes. They are constantly obsessed with their body shape, size, and colour. The common compulsion are constantly checking the mirror, seeking cosmetic treatments, surgery, excessive grooming, reassurance seeking, avoiding social meetings, and touching their perceived flaw. There is no pleasure aspect involved in fulfilling their what they desire to do to their body it only declines their distress.

Symptoms of BDD
  • Preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance that are not observable or appear slight to others.
  • At some point during the course of the disorder, the individual has performed repetitive behaviors or mental acts.
  • The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other areas of functioning.
  • The appearance preoccupation is not better explained by concerns with body fat or weight in an individual whose symptoms meet diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder.
  • Constantly worry about specific area of the body
  • Spend more number of time in comparing your looks with other people looks.
Treatment: BDD

Cognitive behavior therapy is an effective treatment for treating body dysmorphic disorder. The client should be fully engaged in the CBT process; without constant engagement, it will be difficult to make progress. During the sessions, irrational, negative beliefs, wrong ideas, and perceptions are addressed by the psychologist. psychoeducating the client as they lack insight about themselves and the world around them, and using different worksheets to rationalize their self-defeating thoughts and reduce their compulsive behavior.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

This therapeutic approach uses the techniques of acceptance and mindfulness. The individual is taught how to cope with irrational or negative thoughts and negative emotions. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy enables the individual to accept reality, work on clarifying their personal value system, and take a step-by-step approach to dealing with behavioral change.



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