Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a condition in which a person has uncontrollable negative thoughts about a perceived physical flaw. They experience intense preoccupation with imagined or slight defects in their appearance that causes severe emotional distress and interferes with their daily life. While BDD and eating disorders are different conditions, a person can be diagnosed with both. At our teen eating disorder recovery center, we ensure that anyone exhibiting symptoms of BDD gets the care they need.
While most people have something they don’t like about their appearance, that feature doesn’t keep them from enjoying life. People with BDD, on the other hand, may spend hours at a time worrying about their perceived flaw and attempting to change or hide it. They refuse to believe people who say the flaw is minor or nonexistent, and may begin to avoid social situations and isolate themselves.
BDD sufferers can obsess over any part of their body, but their skin, hair, nose, chest, and stomach tend to be common areas of focus. The condition often appears in adolescents and teens, and affects men and women equally. Roughly one percent of the population in the United States exhibits BDD. Its cause has not been clearly identified, but a number of social and biological factors may be involved.
People with BDD can be consumed by their negative thoughts and unable to focus on anything else for hours or even days at a time. They tend to have problems at work or school because of their reluctance to be around others, and have difficult personal relationships as well. In some cases, BDD becomes so intense that a person considers or attempts suicide.
BDD sufferers often go to great lengths to disguise or correct their perceived flaw, including through cosmetic surgery that often is unsatisfactory in their eyes. They frequently have anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or depression as well.
Diagnosing and Treating BDD
Doctors and mental health professionals can diagnose BDD and prescribe treatments that can help patients lead happier, healthier lives. This can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, antidepressant medications, and other approaches. Often a combination of treatments is used.
Helping You Get the Proper Care
Because BDD and eating disorders can share certain symptoms, we’re very careful at our eating disorder recovery center for teens to be sure the people we work with are properly diagnosed and receive the appropriate care. Call us at 916-784-1120 to learn more about our programs.