Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?


Many people feel unhappy or insecure about their physical appearance at some point in their lives. However, some individuals become obsessed and excessively worried about a small, and often exaggerated or imagined, flaw in their physical appearance.

This condition is known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia. People with BDD also engage in compulsive actions, such as excessively using mirrors to check their appearance or over-exercising to cope with the stress they feel about their physical image.

The severity of body dysmorphia differs from individual to individual, as well as, on a day to day basis. In many cases, it can lead to reduced self-esteem, feelings of anxiety and depression, and negative impact on social relationships. However, in extreme cases, people may also experience social phobia, withdrawal and/or self-harm.

What Are the Common Symptoms of BDD?


Here are some of the symptoms and behaviours you may notice with Body Dysmorphic Disorder

  • Obsessive thoughts about perceived appearance defects
  • Obsessive and compulsive behaviors related to perceived appearance defects
  • Major depressive disorder symptoms
  • Delusional thoughts and beliefs related to perceived appearance defects
  • Social and family withdrawal, social phobia, loneliness and selfimposed social isolation
  • Anxiety, and possible panic attacks
  • Chronic low self-esteem
  • Feeling self-conscious in social environments, thinking that others notice and mock their perceived defects
  • Strong feelings of shame
  • Problems initiating and maintaining relationships (both intimate relationships and friendships)
  • Repetitive behavior such as constantly applying make-up or regularly checking appearance in mirrors
  • Perfectionism (undergoing cosmetic surgery and behaviours such as excessive moisturizing and exercising with an aim to create an unattainable but ideal body to reduce anxiety)

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Which Factors Can Lead to the Development of Body Dysmorphia?


Body dysmorphia can be connected to birth features such as height, gender, deformities, irregular shapes and sizes of body features.

It can also occur following injury or an accident; scars, burns, amputations, reconstructions, and it can come due to ageing, weight gain or weight loss.


Our 11+ years of experience at WeightMatters helps us understand when clients present with body dysmorphia in relation to their weight and size.

A symptom of anorexia nervosa is a strong belief that my body is fat, even when you may be of a very low weight.

Understanding that this perception is real for clients with anorexia is so important, it helps to build a working alliance that can foster positive change towards a healthier mind, body and weight.

With clients who have been heavy and carrying excess weight for much of their life, negative belief systems can become entrenched about their weight and size. Often there is a strong critical inner voice that is constantly focusing and judging their size, where the fatness of specific body parts, or the whole body, is always on their mind. An assumption is then made that others are also constantly seeing their fatness.

How can WeightMatters Help You?


It is important for us to understand how you view your body, how much your negative body image affects your day to day life, and how it makes you feel. We can then work with you to take steps in building a new healthy perspective in the way you view and experience your body.


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