What Is Body Dysmorphia?

a woman sits with a specialist and asks the specialist what is body dysmorphiaWhen discussing eating disorders, the term “body dysmorphia” frequently comes to the forefront. But what is body dysmorphia? Body dysmorphia or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a serious mental health condition where a person can obsessively focus on perceived flaws in their appearance, flaws often unnoticeable to others. This condition can cause significant distress, affecting daily functioning and quality of life.

Sanford Behavioral Health understands the complexity of body dysmorphia and its impact on a person’s life, which is why we offer a full continuum of care and treatment that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of this condition. At Sanford Behavioral Health, we place a high priority on providing support to people with eating disorders and body dysmorphia. If you’re ready to embark on your journey to healing, we encourage you to reach out to our team today at 616.202.3326. We are here to listen, understand, and support your recovery.

Understanding Body Dysmorphia

If you have asked, “What is body dysmorphia?” or if you have been diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder—commonly referred to as BDD—you might already know it’s a mental health condition. This condition causes individuals to have a distorted perception of their appearance, leading them to become preoccupied with perceived defects or flaws in their physical features.

These perceived flaws are usually minor or altogether unobservable to others. BDD is more than mere dissatisfaction with one’s appearance—it’s an intrusive preoccupation causing significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Individuals with this condition may devote excessive time scrutinizing their reflection, seeking reassurance, or resorting to concealment or correction methods for their perceived flaws. BDD often coexists with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, intensifying the necessity for expert assistance and treatment.

Symptoms of Body Dysmorphia

As with many mental health conditions, body dysmorphia manifests itself through a variety of physical and psychological symptoms:

Physical Symptoms

  • Preoccupation with physical appearance – Individuals may exhibit extreme concern with a particular area of their body to the point of obsession.
  • Engaging in repetitive behaviors – This may include mirror checking, grooming, skin picking, and reassurance seeking.
  • Undergoing unnecessary cosmetic procedures – Despite this, satisfaction is rarely achieved, and their concern may shift to another body part.

Psychological Symptoms

  • Perfectionism – Individuals may have an unattainable standard of physical perfection, causing significant distress.
  • Low self-esteem – Affected individuals often have a poor self-image, feeling ashamed or self-conscious about their bodies.
  • Social isolation – Fear of negative evaluation may lead individuals to avoid social situations, and this isolation can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and depression.

Recognizing these symptoms is crucial in diagnosing and treating body dysmorphia. It is important to remember that these symptoms can significantly interfere with an individual’s daily life and functioning, and professional help should be sought if body dysmorphia is suspected.

The Impact of Body Dysmorphia on Daily Life

Body dysmorphic disorder can profoundly impact an individual’s daily life, affecting various aspects, including:

Interpersonal Relationships

People with body dysmorphia often experience difficulties in their relationships due to their intense preoccupation with their appearance. They may isolate themselves from loved ones, fearing judgment or ridicule. This isolation can create tension and strain in relationships, often leading to misunderstandings and conflicts.

Work or School Performance

Body dysmorphia can also hinder a person’s ability to focus and concentrate, affecting their performance at work or school. The constant preoccupation with perceived physical flaws can result in decreased productivity and increased absenteeism.

Mental Well-Being

Body dysmorphia can take a serious toll on one’s mental health. The continual stress and anxiety associated with the disorder often lead to depressive symptoms and may even trigger suicidal thoughts in severe cases. Therefore, understanding and addressing the impact of body dysmorphia is crucial to improving the quality of life for those affected by this condition.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Body Dysmorphia

Diagnosing body dysmorphia involves a thorough evaluation by a mental health professional. The diagnostic process may include a psychological assessment, physical examination, and an individual’s medical history.

At Sanford Behavioral Health, we offer evidence-based treatment options for those with body dysmorphia.

Our approach includes a thorough understanding of the underlying issues contributing to this condition and providing individualized treatment that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of body dysmorphia.

The Sanford Behavioral Health team is committed to helping patients overcome their struggles with body dysmorphia and lead fulfilling lives. We offer our patients the following while in our care:

  • Trauma-informed care
  • A health in everybody’s approach
  • Psychiatrist-led medical team
  • On-staff dietitians
  • Meal support and clinical kitchen
  • Cooking and community excursions
  • Exposure therapy
  • Recreation therapy
  • Mindfulness, yoga, movement, and art therapy
  • Authentic staff, community, and connection
  • A full continuum of care for eating disorders, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), self-harm, depression, and co-occurring conditions

To learn more about our treatment options and how we can support you or a loved one with body dysmorphia, please reach out to us.

Call Sanford Behavioral Health Today to Begin Healing

If you or someone you care about is struggling with the question, “What is body dysmorphia?” and experiencing the impact of this condition on your everyday life, please know that assistance is within reach. Sanford Behavioral Health is committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive care to all those affected by body dysmorphia. Call us today at 616.202.3326, or if you feel more comfortable, contact us through our online form. We are here to listen, understand, and guide you toward recovery.

addiction, eating disorders, mental health treatment

Sanford Behavioral Health is an addiction, eating disorder, and mental health treatment facility serving Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan, and beyond. Our mission is to promote mental health, resilience, and well-being. Our goal is to provide practical and accessible substance use disorder, eating disorder, and mental health treatment to our patients. Sanford is led by a multi-disciplinary team offering integrative residential, outpatient and telehealth programs.