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Body Dysmorphic Disorder - Treatment

by Alekhya Bhat and Revathi Raghavan.

Where and how to seek help:

If you think you have BDD, one of the most important things is to seek help as soon as possible. This is to nip the problem in the bud, to make sure it doesn't evolve into another mental health disorder which can ail you further.

The first step to preventing detriments is by visiting a General Practitioner (GP). The course of action includes a number of questions about your symptoms and how they affect your life, as well as whether you have had any thoughts concerning self-harm, eating disorders, etc.

A GP may refer you to a mental health specialist for further assessment and treatment, or you may be treated through your GP, depending on the severity of the case.

Remember that seeking help is the first thing you should remember to do, and this doesn't make you any weaker. Understand that it is the first step to recovery.


Treatment for BDD likely will include a mixture of the subsequent therapies:

  • Psychotherapy:

this is often a sort of individual counseling that focuses on changing the thinking (cognitive therapy) and behavior (behavioral therapy) of an individual with body dysmorphic disorder. The goal is to correct the misconception about the defect and to attenuate the compulsive behavior.

  • Medication:

Certain antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are showing promise in treating body dysmorphic disorder, as are antipsychotic medicines like olanzapine (either alone or together with an SSRI). It focuses mainly on no drug and is formally FDA-approved for the treatment of BDD. If after 12 weeks that doesn't work either, you might need to use an antidepressant called clomipramine.

  • Group and/or family therapy:

Family support is incredibly important to treatment success. It's important that relations understand body dysmorphic disorder and learn to acknowledge its signs and symptoms.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

CBT can help you manage your BDD symptoms by changing the way you think and behave. It helps you learn what triggers your symptoms and teaches you different ways of thinking about and dealing with your habits. It generally includes a technique called exposure and response prevention (ERP), which involves gradually facing situations that would normally make you think obsessively about your appearance and feel anxious.

Other ways to deal with BDD:

Find if your area has local BDD support groups, online therapy, and more. Most people battling BDD say that they recover better with a support system of individuals facing similar circumstances.

Here is a list of support groups you can attend if you're struggling with BDD. All groups are hyperlinked to their corresponding events.


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