Body Dysmorphia: Symptoms and Treatment

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder where one intensely focuses on appearance and body image, and cannot stop thinking about perceived defects and flaws. These flaws are minor and cannot be seen by others. The individual may feel so ashamed, anxious, and embarrassed that social interactions are avoided. These symptoms can cause extreme distress, be extremely time consuming, be disruptive, and cause serious problems in one’s work, school, and social life. Some may experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Both men and women can struggle with body dysmorphic disorder.

Symptoms of body dysmorphia can include:

  • A strong belief that you have a defect in your appearance that causes you to feel deformed and ugly
  • Engagement of behaviors that are difficult to resist or control such as frequently checking the mirror, skin picking, and grooming
  • Seeking cosmetic procedures but gaining little satisfaction
  • Constantly comparing your appearance to others
  • Often seeking reassurance from others about your appearance

Body dysmorphic disorder affects both males and females and typically starts in the early teenage years.

Risk factors include:

  • Societal pressure and expectations of beauty
  • Negative life experiences such as abuse
  • Having another mental health disorder

Shame and embarrassment are often associated with body dysmorphia and that may keep one from seeking treatment. Body dysmorphic disorder can last for years or be lifelong. If left untreated, it can get worse over time, so it is important that the disorder is identified and treated.

If you or someone you know is struggling with body dysmorphic disorder, please contact our psychotherapy/psychiatry offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit


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