What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder are preoccupied with perceived defects in their appearance, despite the fact that others view these apparent “flaws” as mild or even non-existent.

Someone with Body Dysmorphic Disorder experiences distress about one or more aspects of their body that they consider to be unattractive, ugly, deformed, or abnormal.  Examples include things like obsessing over a receding hairline or “excessive” body hair, skin blemishes, the size or shape of a specific body part, the symmetricality of body parts, or not being muscular enough.

Due to the persistent concerns about appearance, someone with Body Dysmorphic Disorder will engage in repetitive behaviours. For example, they might repeatedly look in the mirror, pick at their skin, ask others for reassurance, or mentally compare themselves to others.

Most of us feel dissatisfied with aspects of our appearance from time to time, for example when trying on a bathing suit.  However, those with Body Dysmorphic Disorder experience significant distress about how they look, on a regular basis. They may also have difficulty functioning, for example, avoiding social events, staying home from school or work, or not wanting to leave the house altogether.

Therapy for Body Dysmorphic Disorder can help you to…

  • Understand how the body image problem developed and how it’s maintained
  • Become more accepting of yourself and how you look
  • Resolve deeper issues related to self-acceptance and self-esteem
  • Eliminate dangerous, harmful, or time consuming behaviours aimed at fixing or coping with perceived flaws
  • Reconnect with what’s important to you, even if you are not fully satisfied with your appearance
  • Facing your fears, so that you can overcome them

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