Body Dysmorphic Disorder

(Also Known As: Body Dysmorphia, Bdd, Dysmorphic Syndrome, Somatoform Disorder, Dysmorphophobia, Body Dismorphia)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a psychological disorder in which the person is intensely preoccupied with an imagined body defect. This preoccupation interferes with or hinders the person’s normal or optimal functioning. People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder are extremely self-conscious because they are constantly concerned about one or more body parts which they believe are deformed, misshapen, unaligned or otherwise offensive to look at. Objectively though, such body parts usually look normal.1

The onset of Body Dysmorphic Disorder tends to be during the teenage years and can grow worse if untreated. The average age for the onset of this disorder is 16, and people with Body Dysmorphic Disorder tend to have four or more bodily preoccupations. Individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder tend to have severe levels of depression. It is also common for such individuals to have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Some theorists have suggested that Body Dysmorphic Disorder may be a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, wherein the person obsesses about an imagined bodily defect and engages in compulsive behaviors in trying to change some parts of their body. People with this disorder often seek plastic surgery to change what they perceive as defective body parts. Studies on people with Body Dysmorphic Disorder reveal that some can have perceptions of deformation that are so severe and bizarre that they can be considered out of touch with reality.2

The consequences of Body Dysmorphic Disorder are varied, depending on its severity. While some people have difficulty being intimate or are prevented from maintaining optimal social functioning, others can go to such extreme lengths as cutting themselves or committing suicide. Even when Body Dysmorphic Disorder is mild, it can be very debilitating for the individuals who suffer from it. When it is severe, it can often be life-threatening.

Could You Have Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Bulimia Nervosa – Eating Disorder, Binge Eating, Purging, Fasting, Over Exercising
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Uncontrolled Fears, Irrational Worry, Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Obsessive Behavior, Compulsivity, Perfectionist, Anxiety
Social Anxiety Disorder – Chronic Fear of Being Judged, Social Phobia, Anxiety Disorder