Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Byline: Dr. Gary S. Sy
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by an excessive preoccupation with a real or imagined defect in your physical appearance.
People with body dysmorphic disorder have a distorted or exaggerated view of how they look and are obsessed with actual physical characteristics or perceived flaws, such as a certain facial feature or imperfections of the skin. They often think of themselves as ugly or disfigured. People with body dysmorphic disorder often have problems controlling negative thoughts about their appearance, even when reassured by others that they look fine and that the minor or perceived flaws aren't noticeable or excessive.
Treatment for body dysmorphic disorder may involve a combined approach involving medication and talk therapy (psychotherapy). Anti-depressant medications used along with cognitive behavior therapy can help people with body dysmorphic disorder manage the obsession and anxiety about their appearance, increase confidence in how they look, and obtain normalcy in their social and work lives.
Signs and symptoms:
Frequently comparing appearance with that of others; repeatedly checking the appearance of the specific body part in mirrors or other reflective surfaces; refusing to have pictures taken; wearing excessive clothing, makeup and hats to camouflage the perceived flaw; using hands or posture to hide the imagined defect; frequently touching the perceived flaw; picking at one's skin; frequently measuring the imagined or exaggerated defect; elaborate grooming rituals; excessive researching about the perceived defective body part; seeking surgery or other medical treatment despite contrary opinions or medical recommendations; seeking reassurance about the perceived defect or trying to convince others that it's abnormal or excessive; avoiding social situations in which the perceived flaw might be noticed; and feeling anxious and self-conscious around others (social phobia) because of the imagined defect. …