Dysmorphophobia Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Body dysmorphic disorder, also called BDD, is an obsession with an imaginedor minor flaw in one’s looks. The affected person looks normal to others, but not tohim or herself. BDD distresses the person and may impair social or workfunctioning.

What is going on in the body?

The symptoms usually appear when the person is 15 to 20 yearsold. A person with BDD may become totally preoccupied and obsessed withhis or her body appearance. This obsession can take over the person’s whole life.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

There is no single clear cause for body dysmorphic disorder.Biological, psychological, and even social or cultural factors are thoughtto contribute.

The disorder is more common among women than men.Someone with this disorder is more likely to be single. He or she mayhave a history of depression, anxiety,or psychosis.

Symptoms & Signs

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

Symptoms of BDD include a preoccupation with a perceivedphysical flaw. This flaw may be minor, or even imagined. Behaviors that canindicate BDD include:

  • often looking in the mirror and other reflecting surfaces
  • often comparing appearance with that of others
  • covering up some aspect of appearance with clothing, makeup, hat,hair, or hand
  • often touching the supposed defect
  • excessive grooming
  • avoiding having photos taken
  • Diagnosis & Tests

    How is the condition diagnosed?

    Diagnosis of body dysmorphic disorder can be difficult becausethe person often keeps his or her symptoms secret due to shame. Thediagnosis is based on the symptoms. In addition to a medical history, apsychological and social history is also taken.

    Prevention & Expectations

    What can be done to prevent the condition?

    There is no known prevention for BDD.

    What are the long-term effects of the condition?

    Some people with BDD function fairly well. Others may beincapacitated by their symptoms. The ability to work, do schoolwork,manage a household, attend school, and function socially can be affected.

    Many people with BDD become depressed,and some may consider suicide.A person with this disorder is more likely to seek plastic surgery to “correct”the perceived flaw. In more severe cases, he or she may seek many surgeriesto alter his or her looks.

    What are the risks to others?

    Body dysmorphic disorder is not contagious and poses no riskto others. However, relationships with others may be affected.

    Treatment & Monitoring

    What are the treatments for the condition?

    Antidepressant medicines can control the symptoms of BDD.Counseling is often used to help the person deal with depressionand anxiety. anxiety \ \ depression \ \eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia \ \ alcohol and drug abuse problems\ Cognitive-behavioral therapymay be used. The therapist helps the person change problematic beliefsand create more realistic beliefs and attitudes.

    At times, surgery is used to correct the perceived flaw. Thisoften doesn’t succeed, since the root of BDD is more psychological thanphysical.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Side effects of the medicines used to treat BDD vary but mayinclude drowsiness and allergic reactions.Surgery can cause bleeding, infection, and allergic reactionto anesthesia.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    It may take up to 3 months for medicine to take effect. If surgeryis done, the person often needs ongoing psychological treatment, since surgeryalone will not resolve his or her negative self-image.

    How is the condition monitored?

    Ongoing counseling may be needed to help the person withBDD deal with anxietyor depressionand to improve function at work and home.

    Article type: xmedgeneral