The Psychological Impact of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1310 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Words: 1310|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Epidemiology
  2. Onset and Gender Differences
  3. Symptoms
  4. Causes and Risk Factors
  5. Diagnosis
  6. Treatment
  7. Conclusion
  8. References:

Body-Dysmorphic Disorder is a psychological condition where-in a person is unable to stop thinking about their own assumed deformities or deficits in their physical-appearance — an imperfection that, to others, is either invisible or isn’t discernible. In any case, one may feel so embarrassed and on edge that they may maintain a measured distance from numerous social circumstances. There is a severe exaggeration of the importance of a flaw if it is real. (Bjornsson, Didie & Phillips, 2010).

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Body Dysmorphia is a severe and crippling disorder that is characterized by a assumed physical defect that causes significant impairments in everyday functioning (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). When someone has this condition, they remain strongly fixated on their appearance and are self-conscious, they may constantly and frequently look at any reflective surface, preparing or looking for consolation, now and then for a large duration every day. Your apparent defect and the repeated practices cause you critical pain, and affect your capacity to work in your day by day life.

One’s idea about this condition is ever-changing. One might perceive that their convictions regarding their apparent defects might not be valid, or accept that they most likely are valid, or be completely persuaded that they are valid.

BDD's severity can wax and wane and flare-ups tend to yield absences from school, work, or socializing, sometimes leading to protracted social isolation, with some becoming housebound for extended periods (Bjornsson, Didie & Phillips, 2010). Social impairment is usually greatest, sometimes approaching avoidant behaviour towrads all social activities (Phillips, 2004). Poor concentration and motivation impair academic and occupational performance (Phillips, 2004).


Body Dysmorphia seems to be a rather common condition. Epidemiological studies have stated a point commonness of 0.7% -2.4% in the entire population (Faravelli et al., 1997; Koran, Abujaoude, Large & Serpe, 2008; Otto, Wilhelm, Cohen & Harlow, 2001; Rief, Buhlmann, Wilhelm, Borkenhagen & Brahler, 2006). Research also provides that American Psychiatric Association states BDD is more usual than other mental illnesses like schizophrenia or anorexia nervosa.

BDD shares features with ObsessiveCompulsive Disorder (Fornaro, Gabrielli, Albano, et al. 2009), but involves more depression and social avoidance. BDD often associates with social-anxiety disorder (Fang & Hofmann, 2010). Some experience delusions that others are covertly pointing out their flaws. Cognitive testing and neuro-imaging suggest both a bias toward detailed visual analysis and a tendency toward emotional hyper-arousal (Buchanan, Rossell & Castle, 2011).

Onset and Gender Differences

Body dysmorphia ordinarily begins during early teenage years and it influences both men and women. A fixation that body structure is excessively little or not strong enough happens only in men.

The common period of onset of BDD is commonly between 12-17 years. Researches demonstrate the beginning of this dysmorphia condition might be related to bullying or maltreatment during youth or pre-adulthood.

Males and Females don't essentially contrast a lot in terms of body dysmorphia symptoms. The bodily area of focus can be nearly any, yet is commonly face, hair, stomach, thighs, or hips (Phillips, 2004).

Although it has been observed that females were bound to be engrossed about their buttocks and their weight, picking their skin and cover with cosmetics, and have co-morbid bulimia nervosa. Males were bound to be distracted with body construct, genitilia, and hair diminishing, utilize a cap for cover and have substance misuse or reliance.

However, it has been studied that females are three times more susceptible to developing body dysmorphia compared to males (Boroughs, Krawczyk & Thompson, 2010)


  • Extraordinary reluctance about physical-appearance, constant lookout for or examining of the assumed flaw, Oftentimes checking the flawed part/(s) in mirrors, and different shiny surfaces, frequent contacting, scratching, judging or gazing at the perceived defect (Cororve & Gleaves, 2001; Bjornsson, Didie & Phillips, 2010)
  • Disregarding work, social activities, family, individual wellbeing & prosperity, and various parts of life because of distractions due to the imperfections, social withdrawal and anxiety, keeping away from mirrors as much as possible and discarding them from their house, constant thoughts to hide the imperfection, for instance through wigs, dress, or cosmetics, starving self or eating really less (Phillips, 2004).
  • Excessive visits to a dermatology or restorative specialist trying to get rid of the deformities.
  • Going through a few hours daily pondering the flaw.
  • Looking for validation from other people and experiencing disappointment when they don't spot the imperfection.
  • Successive capturing of 'selfies': a method for looking for self-acceptance.

Causes and Risk Factors

Some specific factors appear to enhance the risk of developing or initiating of the symptoms of body-dysmorphia, such as:

  • Blood-relatives that suffer from BodyDysmorphic Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
  • Traumatic life-experiences, such as getting tease as a child, or being neglected or abused or sexual trauma (Buhlmann, Marques, & Wilhelm, 2012).
  • Particular characteristic attributes, main example being a tendency to have perfectionist behaviours.
  • One of the biggest risk factors as well as a probable cause of BDD might be the pressure that one’s society puts on an individual regarding the unrealistic beauty-standards that media portrays.
  • Suffering from some other psychological disorder such as anxiety-disorders, borderline personality disorder, depression, suicidality (Kenny, Knott, and Cox, 2012), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and substance abuse (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
  • Bullying, peer-pressure or being made fun of also facilitates symptoms of BDD (NHS, 2014).


Diagnosing Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be challenging, as individuals with this condition often hide their symptoms due to shame and embarrassment. However, a thorough assessment by a mental health professional is crucial for an accurate diagnosis. The diagnostic criteria for BDD include:

  1. Preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance that are not observable or appear minor to others.
  2. Repetitive behaviors or mental acts in response to the appearance concerns (e.g., mirror checking, excessive grooming, seeking reassurance).
  3. The preoccupation causes significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  4. The preoccupation is not better explained by concerns with body fat or weight in an individual with an eating disorder.
  5. The preoccupation is not exclusively focused on any concerns related to body dysmorphia due to excessive muscle building.


Treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder typically involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be highly effective in treating BDD. CBT helps individuals challenge their distorted beliefs about their appearance and develop healthier thought patterns and behaviors. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a specific form of CBT used to gradually expose individuals to situations that trigger their appearance-related anxieties and help them resist performing compulsive behaviors.

In addition to psychotherapy, medication can be prescribed to help manage symptoms of BDD. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are often used, as they can help reduce obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. However, medication alone is usually less effective than a combination of therapy and medication.


Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a complex psychological condition characterized by an obsessive preoccupation with perceived flaws in one's physical appearance. It can lead to severe distress, impairment in daily functioning, and social isolation. The condition affects both men and women, with an onset typically during adolescence.

Diagnosis can be challenging due to the secretive nature of the disorder, but it is essential to seek professional help for an accurate assessment and appropriate treatment. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medication are commonly used interventions to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with BDD.

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Understanding the causes, risk factors, and symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder is essential in promoting early intervention and providing effective treatment. Further research in this field is necessary to enhance our knowledge of the condition and improve treatment outcomes.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  2. Bjornsson, A. S., Didie, E. R., & Phillips, K. A. (2010). Body dysmorphic disorder. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 12(2), 221–232.
  3. Boroughs, M. S., Krawczyk, R., & Thompson, J. K. (2010). Assessing body image disturbance in children: Validation of the Body Image Disturbance Questionnaire for Children. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35(2), 156–166.
  4. Phillips, K. A. (2004). Body dysmorphic disorder: Recognizing and treating imagined ugliness. World Psychiatry, 3(1), 12–17.
  5. NHS. (2014). Body dysmorphic disorder. Retrieved from
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The Psychological Impact of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. (2024, January 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
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