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Overview of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

It is nearly universal for people to be concerned at times about their body image and to be unsatisfied by some of their physical features. Yet in Body Dysmorphic Disorder, these concerns get blown out of all proportion, where individuals will become tormented over worries of physical defects that are imagined or grossly exaggerated.

In the DSM-IV-TR, this disorder is counted as a Somatoform Disorder. However, many experts in the field maintain that this condition is better understood as an OCD Spectrum disorder, related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This is because the preoccupations over an imagined physical defect in Body Dysmorphic Disorder usually have an obsessional quality, and people with this condition also tend to have many compulsive behaviors aimed at checking or hiding their disliked body parts.

The course of Body Dysmorphic Disorder tends to be long, persisting over years, and often with severe consequences as these individuals can at times feel too embarrassed by their perceived defects to be seen in public. Effective treatments exist, but many individuals do not seek-out mental health services because they do not realize that their preoccupations are exaggerated. Instead, they often go to see dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons, though such medical interventions rarely help to ease their worries.


Symptoms & Definition