Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Dysmorphophobia)

Extreme obsession with physical appearance

By Winnona Carter, Medical Research EditorLast modified: October 12, 2011

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Dysmorphophobia)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Dysmorphophobia) is a condition in which a person is preoccupied and excessively concerned with their physical appearance. The preoccupation involves an imagined defect or a slight irregularity in appearance such as small eyes or a wide forehead. The obsession is extreme and leads to mental suffering that affects social functioning within home, life and work.

Symptoms Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Dysmorphophobia) include: negative self view of appearance, low self esteem, extreme concern with physical attractiveness, excessive grooming, compulsive mirror gazing, socially avoidant, anxiety, shame, sadness, skin picking and excessive makeup to conceal perceived flaw.

Causes And Risk Factors Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

An exact cause of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Dysmorphophobia) has not yet been determined. However, certain factors increase the chances of developing the condition: low self esteem, childhood teasing, social and cultural values and expectations of beauty.

Tests And Diagnosis Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

If a doctor or mental health provider suspects that an individual has Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Dysmorphophobia) a number of tests will be given to correctly diagnosis the disorder and to exclude the presence of other illnesses. Test could include a physical exam, thyroid test, blood work and a psychological evaluation.

Treatment And Medications For Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Once diagnosed the treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Dysmorphophobia) would be either behavioral therapy, medication or both. The behavioral therapy will assist in teaching healthy behavior, controlling urges and rituals, learning management and coping skills and emotional recognition. Antipsychotic and antidepressant medications may also be given depending on the severity of the dysfunction.

Prevention Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

To prevent a relapse of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Dysmorphophobia)it is highly recommended that individuals take certain steps such as: attending scheduled therapy sessions and doctor visits, taking prescribed medications as directed, avoiding alcohol and illegal drugs, keeping physically and socially active, joining support groups, reducing stress, keeping focus on goals and continuously educating oneself about the condition.

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This article was written by the medical research team at does not intend for any of the information on this site to be regarded as medical advice - it is meant as a starting point for understanding treatment details and options before contacting a registered, licensed doctor. We advise all patients to seek medical advice from a doctor.
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