What is Body Dysmorphia Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

We all have thoughts and ideas in our lives and we change our focus to work in order to get things done. The problem is when thoughts become an obsession and interrupt your routine functions at work, home, and school. Today, we’ll discuss what is body dysmorphia disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Body Dysmorphia Disorder? 

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition that makes you anxious about the perceived and imagined flaws and defects of your body and appearance. Those defects and flaws could be so small and minor that others won’t see them. But they make you feel anxious and embarrassed that you would start avoiding social and public activities.

Your focus is on physical body appearances in BDD (body dysmorphic disorder). You would keep on checking the mirror repetitively for hours every day in order to find reassurance. The recurring behavior about the perceived and imagined defects would make you so stressed that the anxiety would impact the daily functions of your life.

The BDD person would consider cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures in order to fix the perceived and imagine defects. Plastic surgery offers them temporary relief about their appearance. But the stress and anxiety would come back again to further fix their imagined flaws about their body.

Symptoms of Body Dysmorphia Disorder 

Some of the main symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder are as follows;

  • Obsessing over the imagined defects and flaws about your appearances that others can’t notice it
  • A strong conviction that your body is defective that makes you look ugly
  • Believing that others are carefully observing your flaws and making fun of you
  • Behaving in a strange way to hide or fix your imagined defects, the urge is uncontrollable, and you check out the mirror frequently
  • Putting on stylish clothes and over-makeup to hide your imagined defects
  • Making a comparison of you with others
  • Getting affirmation about your looks from others
  • Tend to be perfect
  • Looking for plastic and cosmetic operation
  • Ignoring social events

The obsessive thinking about your looks and appearances exhibits unwanted behavior that is time-consuming and difficult to control. They are the main cause of stress in your life. However, the focus of BDD people is on their appearance and certain parts of the body, and they want to change it over time. Some of the main body features that they want to fix are as follows;

  • Genitalia
  • Tone and muscle size
  • Breast size
  • Vein appearance and size
  • Baldness, thinning, appearance, and hairs
  • Blemishes, acne, wrinkles, complexion, nose, and face

The obsession about your body muscles whether they’re too big or small is common among men. The symptoms of body dysmorphia disorder vary from person to person. It could be believing the fact that your imagined defects aren’t true or excessive or very much true. Once you have the conviction of your belief, the more stress and distress you would experience in your life.

Causes of Body Dysmorphia Disorder 

The exact causes of body dysmorphic disorder aren’t clear. Like any other disorder and mental health condition, it could be due to various issues like negative evaluation of your body, abnormalities of your brain, family history of the disorder, or something else.

Risk Factors 

BDD usually initiates in the early teen years and it impacts both men and women equally. Some of the main factors that could trigger or increase the possibility of BDD are as follows;

  • Depression, anxiety, or any other mental health condition
  • Beauty expectations or social pressures
  • Perfectionism or other personality characteristics
  • Negative experiences like abuse, neglect, teasing in childhood, etc
  • Any BDD relative or has an obsessive-compulsive disorder


Some of the main complications that could happen due to the BDD or it could cause are as follows;

  • Disfiguring risk or physical pain because of the repetitive cosmetic surgeries
  • Behavioral problems like skin picking
  • Substance misuse
  • Eating disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder or anxiety disorder
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Mood disorder or depression

Treatment Body Dysmorphia Disorder 

Some of the main types of treatment are as follows;

CBT or Psychotherapy

Therapeutic treatment helps you to change one’s behavior and thinking. The therapy also helps people to lower the compulsive actions or correct the imagined defective body parts thinking.

ERP (Exposure & Response Prevention)

The ERP treatment employs real-life-situation and it makes the person realize the fact that their self-perception is not correct.


Psychologists usually suggest following medicines to deal with body dysmorphic disorder;

  • SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
  • Antidepressant medication

Family Therapy

One of the most successful treatments is family therapy; the family members make a person see the symptoms and signs of it.

Conclusion: What is Body Dysmorphia Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is body dysmorphia disorder; its symptoms, causes, risk factors, complications, and treatment, we’ve realized that BDD is a serious problem and it could impact a person’s life very badly. If you see anyone exhibiting symptoms of BDD, then ask them to take the help of any professional licensed therapist.