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Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) goes beyond body image and self esteem, someone who suffers from BDD has extreme unrealistic views of some part of their body. This article helps define body dysmorphic disorder and the causes, effects, warning signs, and more.
Body dysmorphic disorder occurs when teens become obsessed with a small flaw in their appearance, to the point that it interferes with their life. Teens with body dysmorphic disorder are at higher risk for other problems too, including depression and suicide. Body dysmorphic disorder often goes undiagnosed and untreated, but parents can learn to recognize the symptoms and find treatment for their teen.
It's normal for teens to worry about their appearance and to spend time in front of the mirror trying to change the way they look. A teen may have body dysmorphic disorder, however, if he or she obsesses over a minor or imagined flaw, or thinks that he or she is deformed when he or she looks normal. For this reason, body dysmorphic disorder is also called imagined ugliness. Body dysmorphic order can occur in teen boys and girls of any race or culture, usually starting in adolescence. Teens with body dysmorphic disorder may obsess over any part of their body, from their nose to their weight, and what they obsess over may change from time to time.
The exact causes of body dysmorphic disorder are not known, but there are several theories:
Regardless of the cause, body dysmorphic disorder is a dangerous condition, with possible negative effects such as:
Some signs that a teen may have body dysmorphic disorder include:
The best way for parents to determine if their teen has body dysmorphic disorder is to talk to them about their body image. Parents can ask them how they feel about themselves and their appearance. Teens may not like some aspects of their appearance, but they shouldn't feel like they are deformed.
Teens with body dysmorphic disorder need treatment to recover from the disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one method that can help teens by teaching them to recognize and correct flawed thinking.
Some other things parents can do to help teens with body dysmorphic disorder:
MayoClinic, "Body Dysmorphic Disorder" [online]
Katharine A Phillips, World Psychiatry Journal, "Body dysmorphic disorder: recognizing and treating imagined ugliness" [online]
Related Article: Teen Body Image >>