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How Do You Know If You Have Body Dysmorphia?


How Do You Know If You Have Body Dysmorphia?

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), also known as body dysmorphia, is a body-image disorder that is “characterized by persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one’s appearance.” BDD is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) under the new category called obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. It is impossible for a young person to mature through adolescence without experiencing bouts of insecurity surrounding his or her appearance. For this reason, it can be difficult to distinguish between behaviors associated with typical teenage insecurities and those that may be indicative of body dysmorphic disorder. While it is not uncommon for teenagers to be highly critical and overly dramatic when it comes to physical blemishes, with body dysmorphia the symptoms are debilitatingly pervasive. A teenager that suffers from BDD will become overly preoccupied and obsessed with his or her imagined physical flaws to the point that it interferes with his or her ability to function optimally in everyday daily life.

Signs and Symptoms

Every person is different and each teenager that struggles with body dysmorphic disorder is likely to experience a range of symptoms. The combination of symptoms and the severity of symptoms will vary, as they will be wholly dependent upon each individual teen. There are common signs and symptoms that could be indicative of body dysmorphia. Johns Hopkins Medicine provides the following examples a young person with body dysmorphic disorder may present with, including:

  • Easily embarrassed
  • Excessive grooming
  • Need for constant reassurance 
  • Obsessions with various parts of one’s physical body
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Constantly hiding the area of the body that is thought to physically defect
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Weight fluctuation
  • Unhealthy diets
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances

If you or someone you know struggles with any combination of the above symptoms, it may be advantageous to obtain professional guidance. The effects of body dysmorphic disorder can have severe consequences. If left untreated, BDD can result in long-term damage to an adolescent’s self-esteem, social and emotional development, school performance, and physiological health. 

For Information and Support

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, in the long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

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