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What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

There are people who suffer in silence because of the way they feel about their appearance. The person will be preoccupied about physical flaws that only they observe. Others may see the perceived physical flaw that is plaguing the person as minor or insignificant. This disorder is known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Body Dysmorphic Disorder occurs in 2.5% males and 2.2% females in the United States of America. It is worth noting that the disorder begins in adolescence around 12-13 years of age and affects 1 out of 50 people.

People suffering from body dysmorphic disorder may believe that they have flaws with their skin, weight, nose, breast, muscles, buttocks, and/or genitalia. Some patients may believe that they are ugly or atrocious to look at which may lead to seeking cosmetic procedures to correct their flaws, choosing to avoid interacting with people, and/or have the habit of constantly comparing themselves with others. If the patient chooses to rectify these bodily concerns by having a cosmetic procedure, they may still be dissatisfied with their appearance while looking for new faults. 

A symptom of body dysmorphic disorder would be repetitive behaviors such as mirror checking, grooming, skin picking, and frequent reassurance check. This alone  can be a very distressing feeling for a patient which may affect their social, occupational, and personal functioning. 

Patients should consult a mental health provider for guidance in how to approach treatment. Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be treated via Cognitive Behaviorial Therapy (CBT) and medication management. CBT can help a person challenge their beliefs and reduce repetitive behaviors. The therapist and the client will work together on these tasks and track progress. The therapist can collaborate care with a psychiatrist who can treat with medications. 

There are various organizations  that cater specifically to patients and families affected by Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Organizations such as the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, International OCD Foundation, and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America provide resources and online support groups for those struggling with the disorder.

We at Genesis Psychiatric Solutions are here to help you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at (703) 955-0915 or email at  

Dr. Ifeanyi Olele Ifeanyi Olele, DO, MBA, MS, is a board-certified psychiatrist who sees adolescent and adult patients in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area at Genesis Psychiatric Solutions. Dr. Olele is a dedicated psychiatrist in the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma-related stress disorders, and attention deficit disorders. Dr. Ifeanyi Olele is one of the few psychiatrists who utilizes psychotherapy (talk therapy) as part of his treatment plan.

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