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What is dysmorphophobia? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Dysmorphophobia is characterized by an obsession and excessive thoughts about an “imaginary defect”. It induces stress in the person, social withdrawal and other disorders (dietary, obsessive, hygiene, etc.).

Definition of dysmorphophobia.

Dysmorphophobia is characterized by excessive thoughts and an obsession with an imaginary defect or a small physical defect, whose perception of the person is completely disproportionate. The person with dysmorphophobia has a bad image of herself. These obsessive manifestations lead to negative or even harmful attitudes for the person (destructive thinking, uncontrolled emotions, disproportionate behavior, etc.). These can then impact the social, family and professional life of the patient.

The manifestations and clinical signs of dysmorphophobia can also result in mental disorders: attention, diet, hygiene, and others.

In general, the part of the body most often affected by dysmorphophobia is the head and face. But any body part can be the object of such an attack: the legs, the belly, the chest, etc.

The causes of dysmorphophobia.

Dysmorphophobia is an obsessive disorder of behavior, characterized by obsessions and an exaggeration of a defect that can be imaginary. The causes of such a syndrome are then little known or even unknown. Since dysmorphophobia is particularly affecting adolescents, puberty is a risk factor.

Who is affected by dysmorphophobia?

Anyone can be confronted with a dysmorphophobic syndrome.

However, adolescents are more concerned, especially given the significant changes in their body. Dysmorphophobia affects both men and women.

Evolution and possible complications of dysmorphophobia.

The consequences of dysmorphophobia can be serious. Indeed, in the most extreme cases, the use of cosmetic surgery or even medical procedures, excessively can lead to significant consequences on the body of the person.

Eviction of certain activities and social withdrawal can also be a source of degradation of one’s moral state, leading to suicide in the most severe cases.

Symptoms of dysmorphophobia.

Dysmorphophobia is particularly reflected in:

  • obsessions and a very important concern of the perceived defect excessively
  • spend one’s time looking at oneself in the mirror and scrutinizing this “imaginary defect” or conversely, evicting mirrors and shiny surfaces that may reflect one’s image
  • Hiding the part of the body that is missing (wearing a hat, scarf, gloves, etc.)
  • making excessive appointments with health professionals
  • the use of cosmetic surgery
  • social withdrawal (eviction from public places for example)
  • Depressed, anxious, and other feelings and emotions.

How to treat dysmorphophobia?

The management and treatment of dysmorphophobia includes Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy(CBT). These practices make it possible to put the individual back on the right path, by making him aware that perfection does not exist.

The therapeutic treatment most often associated with dysmorphophobia is reflected particularly by the taking of anti-depressant.

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