Body Dysmorphia

Treatment at Cottonwood Tucson

About Body Dysmorphia

When a person believes their face or body is flawed, that they weigh more or look differently than what a scale indicates, or experience anxiety, sadness, or embarrassment about perceived defects in appearance, these are all symptoms of a mental health condition known as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

What Is BDD?

Also referred to as body dysmorphia, BDD causes an individual to feel intense emotional distress over physical appearance. This disorder involves a change in a person’s visual processing and self-perception. What someone else might consider minor or even non-existent, an individual with BDD thinks their flaws are blatantly obvious and they’re judged as a result of them. This preoccupation becomes extreme as they engage in obsessive compulsive behaviors such as:

  • Looking in mirrors multiple times a day, especially at the perceived flaws, or conversely, avoiding reflective surfaces completely due to feelings of shame or disgust about appearance
  • Asking others frequent questions about appearance, referred to as “reassurance seeking”
  • Constant comparison to others
  • Always trying to hide the supposed flawed area through posture, body positioning, or additional attire
  • Frequently picking at skin with fingers or tweezers

When someone suffers from BDD, they might feel compelled to do other things because of their appearance, including:

  • Repeated and more extreme dermatological treatment or cosmetic surgery to remove or fix the alleged problems
  • Avoiding going to school, work, social gatherings, and other public places, or only going out at night to not be seen

Unfortunately, a constant dissatisfaction or disgust with appearance might cause some individuals to have additional mental health complications. People with BDD often experience co-occurring disorders such anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and in severe cases, suicidal thoughts.

bright yellow flower on cactus - body dysmorphia

Treating BDD with Care

Cottonwood Tucson’s comprehensive eating disorder program includes individualized treatment for body dysmorphic disorder. Our counselors incorporate various treatment options such as cognitive behavioral therapy to identify and challenge someone’s negative self-image and visual processing. Further therapy aims to resolve potential emotional issues related to or triggering this condition, such as trauma or grief.

There’s a solution to alleviating distorted perceptions regarding appearance. Through specialized assessments, our compassionate professionals can ensure the highest level of success.

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