Body dysmorphic disorder is a chronic mental illness where a person obsesses about a flaw in their appearance, and is so ashamed by the flaw they don’t want to be seen or go out in public. Researchers have found that the same part of the brain is overactive on both obsessive compulsive and body dysmorphic disorders, which may mean there is a link between the two. Researchers have also found that 80% of individuals who have body dysmorphic disease think about or attempt suicide. There are symptoms to look for if you suspects someone may have this disorder, and treatment options that are available.
Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
A person displaying symptoms of this disorder will often spend several hours a day obsessing and examining their body parts in a mirror. They uses clothing such as scarves and hats to cover what they perceive to be their defect. A person may also cover their defects with make-up or seek cosmetic surgery to fix their flaw. Often a person will obsessively question family and friends about their appearance. What they perceive as their body defect can make a person avoid social situations, and suffer from low-self esteem or extreme depression.
Diagnosing Body Dysmorphic Disorder
If a doctor or mental health provider suspects that a person may have body dysmorphic disorder, a variety of medical and psychological tests and exams can be done. These test can rule out other conditions that may be the cause of their symptoms. A doctor will give their patient a complete physical exam. Laboratory test and a complete blood count will be included. When the psychological exam is given, the doctor will discuss thoughts and feelings about various topics, and how these feelings affect their daily life. They may also discuss the frequency in which a patient may have suicidal thoughts. Body dysmorphic disorder is hard to diagnose, and a person must have the main symptoms that are in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in order to be diagnosed with this disorder.
Treatment Options for Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Cognitive behavioral therapy and behavioral therapy are treatment options in which it treats the patient on the idea that their thoughts are causing their negative behavior and feelings. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants may be prescribed to help control a person’s obsession and repetitive thoughts. In severe cases, a person may be admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
BDD Central is a website to get support and help if you have or know someone who has body dysmorphic disorder. Their website is www.bddcentral.com.
Form more information on body dysmorphic disorder go to: www.biobehavioralinstitute.com, www.mayoclinic.com, www.ncpamd.com, www.sciencedaily.com.