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Body Dysmorphic Disorder Treatment

If concerns about your appearance are dominating your thoughts, disrupting your enjoyment of life or leading you to avoid social situations, it may be time to explore Body Dysmorphic Disorder treatment in our Penrith clinic. 

Our Clinical Psychologists are committed to providing effective treatment strategies. We're here to help you see yourself as you truly are and regain confidence in your appearance.

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) involves a preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in appearance, which are usually not noticeable to others. This preoccupation can significantly affect your daily life, limiting your willingness to interact with others and compromising your mental health.

Areas of preoccupation

Although preoccupation can focus on any part of the body, the most common presentations involve the face (eyes, nose, teeth, etc.), hair (scalp and/or body), breasts (male or female), stature (muscle tone, height), and skin (colour, consistency).

Common symptoms

Some common symptoms that might indicate it’s time to seek treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder include:

  • Persistent negative beliefs about your appearance may include:

    • That you are defective, ugly, or deformed. For example, you are repellant due to balding (even in the absence of evidence that you are balding at all)

    • A focus on size, shape, or colour. For example, that your nose is too big, your arms are too small, or your skin tone is too inconsistent

    • An emphasis on proportion and ‘evenness’ (symmetry). For example, that your left eye is significantly different from your right eye. 

  • Perceiving even slight imperfections as major defects

  • Finding these thoughts about your appearance distressing, and difficult to control

  • Believing that others take special notice of your appearance in a negative way

  • Excessively comparing your appearance to others 

  • Frequently seeking reassurance about your appearance from others

  • Constantly checking the mirror, or avoiding mirrors altogether

  • Engaging in repetitive behaviours aimed at fixing or checking (e.g., selfies, rubbing, measuring) the perceived flaw

  • Excessive efforts to conceal perceived flaws with clothing, make-up, or other means - camouflaging

  • Repeated attempts to hide or fix the perceived flaw through cosmetic procedures, often with little satisfaction

  • Excessive grooming or exercise routines aimed at fixing perceived body concerns

  • Avoidance of public places or social situations to prevent others from seeing the perceived flaw

  • Avoiding having your photo taken by others

  • Significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning due to preoccupation with appearance

  • A lack of insight is not uncommon in BDD - others see your beliefs as a problem, whereas you might simply see them as truths

Our approach to Body Dysmorphic Disorder treatment

Our team of Clinical Psychologists is dedicated to understanding the full scope of your experiences and tailoring a treatment plan that respects your individual needs. Here’s what we offer:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) — This is a primary treatment approach that helps you address the negative thoughts and behaviours associated with BDD. Specifically, we want to help you become more flexible with how you manage unhelpful thoughts and beliefs about your appearance.

  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) — This is a very important part of the CBT approach. Exposure involves gradually facing more and more challenging situations, and over time learning through experience that the feared situation is typically less troublesome than you may anticipate. The Response Prevention component involves eliminating or reducing your reliance on the behaviours that are ultimately perpetuating your BDD. These include the checking, reassurance-seeking, avoidance, and other behaviours noted above.

  • Dearousal and Mindfulness techniques — These are designed to help you calm your body’s fight-or-flight system and reduce the distress associated with your thoughts. They also help you focus your attention where you’d prefer it to be; away from the source of your distress and back onto the life you deserve! Certain medications, such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), may also provide or augment treatment. Please consult your GP and/or Psychiatrist to discuss suitability.

Get Body Dysmorphic Disorder treatment in Penrith at Boyce & Dale Anxiety and Mood Disorders Clinic

If you're ready to take steps toward overcoming the challenges associated with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, we are here to help. Learn more about our services and get in touch with us to learn more about how we can create a Body Dysmorphic Disorder treatment plan for you.

More information

There are a range of excellent resources available on the International OCD Foundation, here:

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