Health and Disease

A Deeper Dive Into Body Dysmorphic Disorder

You may have heard about the Body Dysmorphic Disorder, better know has body dysmorphia because it is very common. 1 in 50 people suffer from body dysmorphia daily and it affects 1.7% of the population. Learn more about what this common disorder is and all there is to know about body dysmorphia.


Body dysmorphic disorder, or more commonly known as body dysmorphia, is a common mental illness that causes a person to feel negatively about their minor flaws that other people may not be able to see. Some people with body dysmorphia can also experience eating disorders and OCD–obsessive-compulsive disorder. Body dysmorphia is very common with almost 200,000 cases in the United States per year. There are many people who have this disorder who suffer the negative effects of body dysmorphia. Still, not many people know the causes and symptoms of body dysmorphia and the certain dangers that come with this mental health disorder. This article will uncover all the important details about body dysmorphia such as what causes body dysmorphia, the symptoms of body dysmorphia, and treatment for body dysmorphia.


 Researchers don’t actually know what specifically causes body dysmorphia, but there have been many pieces of research that have been able to come up with the possible factors that cause people to experience body dysmorphia. Some factors in life experiences, perfectionism, and family history concerning the disorder are just a few of the possibilities on what causes body dysmorphia. Life experiences can include abuse and bullying because when experiencing these two things a person can develop negative thoughts about their own appearance and self-image. Perfectionism can also cause body dysmorphia because striving for a perfect appearance can cause someone to compare themselves often. However, these are only a few possibilities that cause body dysmorphia and there is still much to learn about this mental disorder.


There are many body dysmorphia symptoms, one of them being constantly checking yourself in the mirror. It is very common that many people who suffer from body dysmorphia often evaluate their flaws through the mirror and focus on one specific part of the body. This could be anything like hair, skin, or facial features. A person will become very fixated with a certain flaw they see and constantly check on themselves to see their flaws. Another symptom of body dysmorphia is avoiding social activities. Some people who suffer from body dysmorphia often avoid going to social events due to being insecure about their flaws. People with body dysmorphia could potentially avoid many social situations especially during the daytime due to body dysmorphia. These are only a few of the symptoms that come with body dysmorphia. There are still many other symptoms like avoiding mirrors, seeking cosmetic procedures, exercising excessively, frequent weighing, strong beliefs that flaws make you look deformed, and many more. However,  to be diagnosed with body dysmorphia you have to be abnormally concerned with your flaws, or the thoughts about your physical flaws affect the ability to live normally.


Like many other mental disorders, there is no cure for body dysmorphia nor is there a possible way to prevent a person from experiencing body dysmorphia. However, there are treatments for body dysmorphia but they are also varied based on the person. For example, age, health, and opinions can affect what type of treatment a patient will receive. It is important for folks who potentially suffer from body dysmorphia to get treatment in order to live life stress-free and decrease compulsive behaviors that can affect day to day life. Treatment for body dysmorphia can include medicine and also therapy. Medicine like antidepressants usually work very well for patients with body dysmorphia and therapy helps patients replace thoughts by using patterns and positive thoughts. It is also crucial that people, who suffer from body dysmorphia, catch it early because body dysmorphia is known to get worse with age.


Although the causes of body dysmorphia aren’t certain, there are many educated guesses that have been made on what could possibly cause body dysmorphia some of them being life experiences, family history, and perfectionism. These are only a few factors that could be the cause of body dysmorphia. There are also many symptoms related to folks who have body dysmorphia. Symptoms can include checking the mirror a lot and avoiding public and social situations. These symptoms can affect one’s day to day life and cause a lot of stress for people with body dysmorphia. Even though there is no cure for body dysmorphia there is treatment and therapy that is able to help patients deal with this disorder. Treatment and therapy are extremely beneficial and are important to have if one suffers from this condition. It helps patients with body dysmorphia to live a better life with this condition. It is also important to catch this disorder quickly because it gets worse with age. It is important for folks who might think they have body dysmorphia to seek medical help because having this disorder can affect one’s mental health and overall way of life. There are many people who suffer from this disorder who face many of their own challenges as a result. It is crucial for these people to seek the medical help they need whether that be treatment or therapy in order to thrive and have a healthier lifestyle.


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Mary Mai, Youth Medical Journal 2021

By Mary Mai

Mary Mai is a student at Balboa High School in California. She is interested in fields of medical genetics, neurology, psychiatry, and pediatrics.

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