W3 Activity: Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), also known as dysmorphophobia, is an under-recognized yet relatively common and severe mental disorder. BDD plagues patients with strong beliefs of deformity and/or ugliness when in reality they look normal. This could lead self-isolation, impaired social connections and even suicidal tendencies. Although there is still a great need for more research on this disorder and the best possible treatment for it, therapies for consideration include serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) at a high dose for at least 12 weeks. Additional therapies in conjunction with the SRI treatment include cognitive behavioral therapy, consisting of exposure, response prevention, behavioral experiments, and cognitive restructuring.

Diagnosis of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be difficult. Questions that include the DSM-IV criteria include: Are you happy with your appearance? If so, what is your concern? Does it preoccupy you? Does the preoccupation affect your social interactions, work, etc.? There is no binary scale and patient-based opinions may vary and may also be flawed. The clinical features of identifying the disorder aid the questions so as to alleviate the bias of diagnosis and include repetitive, compulsive habits in an attempt to fix the imagined distortion. BDD can affect sufferers’ way of life tremendously and invoke other disorders such anorexia nervosa, bulimia, depression and anxiety for example. This can lead to various changes in the physical appearance, mental functioning and further strengthen the hold of BDD on the person affected.

1. Body dysmorphic disorder: recognizing and treating imagined ugliness, Katharine A Philips

One thought on “W3 Activity: Body Dysmorphic Disorder

  1. Hi Nyasha,
    I found your post very interesting! I actually wrote my W3 activity on Anorexia Nervosa, and the cause for both of our cultural bound syndromes stem from similar views on bodies in America. I view culture as a group of people that come together through similar views, beliefs and general way of life. Culture most likely depends on similar location. I believe body dysmorphic disorder is a culture bound syndrome because its the society’s similar views on body image that can trigger a person into thinking that they look a certain way when in reality they don’t. There are mostly disadvantages to this because culture has a huge impact on a person’s health and can lead them to a worse condition than before.

    In a different cultural setting where being heavier is more gloried, like in some parts of Africa, BDD can act and make people think they are actually smaller than their actual size. This can increase their weight and cause further complications as well.

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