Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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But in reality, the appearance flaws they perceive are minimal or nonexistent in the eyes of others. If you think you look abnormal but other people say you don't, I encourage you to be open-minded and find out if you have BDD. There's no downside to doing this. If you're diagnosed with BDD, I encourage you to try treatments that are often effective for this condition see below.

These treatments often substantially -- sometimes dramatically -- improve symptoms, functioning, quality of life, and sense of well-being. These treatments usually improve distressing appearance preoccupations and compulsive behaviors such as mirror checking and comparing; they usually help people feel that they have more control over their thoughts and behaviors.


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These treatments also usually help people feel more comfortable in social situations and less depressed and anxious. Self-esteem often improves. Some people improve when they're treated with an SRI alone or with CBT alone, whereas others benefit from receiving both treatments at the same time.

For more severe symptoms, treatment with both medication and CBT concurrently is usually recommended. A majority of people with BDD get cosmetic procedures, such as surgery, dermatologic treatment, and dental treatment, for their BDD concerns. However, these treatments appear to almost never be helpful for BDD. Cosmetic treatment can even make BDD symptoms worse. Thus, cosmetic treatments, including surgery, aren't recommended for BDD. Brain imaging studies show that people with BDD overfocus on tiny details of a visual stimulus such as a face and have trouble seeing "the big picture.

BDD can be severely distressing and impairing, to the point where some people commit suicide. But there is hope for people with BDD! Over the past 25 years, research scientists like myself have identified and developed treatments that help a majority of people get better. These treatments can free you from your appearance obsessions and compulsive behaviors, depression, anxiety, social anxiety, and other symptoms. They can be life-saving. My books on BDD and on obsessive-compulsive and related disorders provide in-depth information about BDD and related conditions:.

Phillips, M. Oxford University Press, This is the first edited volume on BDD. It also provides detailed discussion of how to assess and diagnose BDD; what might cause BDD etiology and pathophysiology ; recommended treatments; cosmetic treatment; BDD's relationship to other psychiatric disorders; and scales and resources. The book is intended for mental health clinicians, primary care clinicians, and pediatricians, as well as plastic surgeons, ear, nose, and throat physicians, dermatologists, and other clinicians who provide cosmetic aesthetic treatment.

I hope it will be helpful to anyone with an interest in psychiatric disorders and especially to BDD sufferers and their loved ones.

This book for both professionals and the public is briefer but more up to date than the Broken Mirror described below , as it incorporates knowledge based on scientific research that was done since the Broken Mirror was published. It contains detailed information about both effective and ineffective treatments for BDD. The first edition of this book, published in , was the first book published on BDD.

A brief psychological overview

This revised and expanded edition, for both professionals and the public, incorporates advances in knowledge since the first edition was published. It contains more patient stories than my book. The Guilford Press, This book is a detailed treatment guide for therapists to use when treating people with BDD. Its development and testing were supported by research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Published research studies indicate that this manualized treatment is effective for a majority of people with BDD. Stein, M. American Psychiatric Publishing, The book provides an overview of obsessive-compulsive and related conditions: BDD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding disorder, excoriation skin picking disorder, trichotillomania hair-pulling disorder , and other conditions.

Pope, Jr, M. The Free Press, This book identifies and discusses body image concerns in boys and men, which often go unrecognized and underdiagnosed. It includes a focus on muscle dysmorphia, a form of BDD that consists of preoccupation with the belief that one's body build is too small or that muscularity is insufficient.

Institutional access

A substantial proportion of people with the muscle dysmorphia form of BDD abuse and become dependent on potentially dangerous anabolic steroids and other supplements. This includes numerous treatment studies both therapy and medication studies. If you'd like to see me for a one-time evaluation so I can give you treatment recommendations, or if you live in the New York City area and would like to see me for ongoing outpatient treatment, please contact us. You can also call the Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center at or, email me at kap med.

Like many other mental health disorders, BDD is likely due to a combination of neurological, biological, environmental, and genetic factors. BDD stems from, and can cause, a variety of emotional, physical, and psychological issues that can interfere with the quality of your day to day life. You may find yourself:. BDD requires a clear and accurate diagnosis in order to get the appropriate treatment.

When The Mirror Lies: Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder | nvesaraccolo.gq

Since most individuals with BDD hide their obsessions and compulsions from others, the condition can be misdiagnosed. The most common treatment plan for body dysmorphic disorder is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT has been found to be the most effective at treating BDD and antidepressant medications have also been shown to help individuals coping with this disorder.

CBT provides coping techniques and tools for managing irrational thoughts and negative thinking patterns. Your therapist can help you turn negative thoughts and behaviors into positive. Exposure involves taking steps to confront situations that cause your irrational concerns, such as going out in public with the perceived flaw uncovered.


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  5. Response prevention teaches you to resist the urge to cover up that perceived flaw with makeup or clothing, how to stop seeking reassurance from others about your appearance, and how to decrease the amount of time you spend repeatedly checking your appearance. Antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are often prescribed to help relieve the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors associated with the disorder.

    These are effective, in part, because it is believed that a partial cause of body dysmorphia is due to problems related to the brain chemical serotonin. Your doctor may prescribe a gradually increasing dose of antidepressants to see how well you tolerate the medication and any potential side effects. Other medications may be prescribed, depending on your specific symptoms.

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    If your symptoms are unmanageable and interfere with your daily life, in-patient treatment at a hospital, clinic or specialized treatment center may be required. Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. Accessed July 30, Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

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