Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a relatively common and highly debilitating disorder that is thought to be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Its hallmark symptoms are preoccupation with one or more perceived physical flaws, behaviors or “rituals” aimed at improving and/or concealing these flaws, and feelings of intense shame, anxiety, and sadness about one’s appearance. Effective treatments for BDD are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
If you struggle with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), you likely know that trying to convince you out of your concerns is unhelpful. Persuading you that your perceived flaws are imagined can actually worsen the disorder over time.
BDD therapists do not aim to argue about the specifics of one’s BDD concerns, such as if your nose is actually “hideous.” Rather, treatment for body dysmorphia aims to help individuals challenge their beliefs about:
As part of Body Dysmorphic Disorder treatment, you are also encouraged to abandon the rituals that get in the way of your life. These rituals are time-consuming and actually exacerbate distress about appearance concerns. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for BDD can help you identify your priorities and values and spend more time focusing on them.
Therapy for BDD incorporates mirror attention retraining to help you look at your appearance in a more objective and balanced way. This helps you stop avoiding mirrors or engaging in excessive mirror checking and eventually reduces distress.
These steps may sound overwhelming. At Anxiety Care NY, we are here to be your partner in overcoming BDD. You can get better!
Learn more about Body Dysmorphic Disorder here: https://bdd.iocdf.org/