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Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is an extremely distressing body image disorder in which a person focuses unrealistically on parts or aspects of their body that they believe are ugly and excessively unattractive to themselves and others. Thinking and behaviors are often consumed by negative thoughts (obsessions) about their body and ritualistic behaviors (compulsions) that they must do to control or change these flaws. Often the focus of dissatisfaction may evolve into other parts of the person’s body. Life can become organized and controlled by these obsessions and compulsions. Overall life satisfaction becomes affected and often depression and anxiety may ensue.
The most effective treatment for BDD is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. A trained therapist will help the person with BDD understand the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that lead to the disorder. Exploring and restructuring the negative thoughts with more realistic perceptions may be a treatment focus. The most effective aspect of treatment is similar to treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in which a series of Behavioral Therapy techniques are implemented. Gradual exposure and response prevention techniques are identified and a treatment strategy is collaboratively planned by both the therapist and client. These techniques require that the person is motivated to confront and change the behaviors that keeps the BDD going. Medication may also be helpful to reduce some of the obsessive symptoms but will most likely not make the symptoms go away completely.
The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder By: Katherine A. Phillips
Last updated: May 7, 2010
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Site Last Updated: April 25, 2013
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