Body Dysmorphic Disorder Basics
Body Dysmorphic Disorder: What Is It?
Body dysmorphic disorder is characterized by excessive concern over either a very minor or completely imagined “flaw” in one’s physical appearance. This extreme preoccupation, often accompanied by great shame, can cause significant distress and impair a young person’s ability to function at home, at school, and in other important settings. Children and adolescents with body dysmorphic disorder may attempt to cover up their perceived flaws with clothing or make-up, or desire to “correct” them with cosmetic surgery. But the “correction” doesn’t solve the problem because it has nothing to do with actual appearance. In body dysmorphic disorder, a child’s preoccupation with a particular aspect of her appearance is not restricted to concerns over weight or body fat, as in an eating disorder. This disorder is also known as dysmorhpophobia, or the fear of having a deformity. Informally, the condition is referred to as “imagined ugliness.”