Body Dsymorphic Disorder
Individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder are preoccupied with one or more perceived defects or flaws in their physical appearance that are not observable or appear slight to others. The individual with this disorder believes that he or she looks ugly, unattractive, abnormal or deformed. There are often regular intrusive and unwanted thoughts about the perceived area of the body that is of concern. The preoccupation causes significant distress and at some point with the disorder, the individual performs repetitive behaviors. These might include such things as mirror checking, excessive grooming/covering, reassurance seeking and comparison of one’s own body to that of others. An example of one form of this disorder is muscle dysmorphia where the individual is concerned that his or her body build is too small or insufficiently muscular in spite of the perception of others that are different. Insights into this disorder can range from good to absent or delusional. The main onset of this is late adolescence but the actual onset may start much earlier.
Proper help for a person with anorexia can make a difference. Professional treatment should be sought when the eating behaviors begin having a destructive impact on physical and mental health. Individuals with anorexia may be resistant to seeking treatment, but families should be firmly encouraging and supportive in getting therapy started as soon as possible.
At Silber Psychological Services, we have therapists who have extensive experience in the treatment of eating disorders. A thorough evaluation and accurate diagnosis is the first step. When treatment is recommended, establishment of normal weight and truly healthy, balanced eating patterns are the first priorities. Psychological, social and any family issues which may also be in existence are subsequently addressed.
The therapist helps the client replace destructive and unhealthy thoughts, behaviors and coping strategies with positive and healthy ones. Therapists can also help family members to better understand the client’s disorder and learn new techniques for responding. A multidisciplinary team may often be needed to provide the best treatment results. Individual Therapy, Family Therapy, and Group Therapy often occur simultaneously. Some clients may benefit from medication and/or consultation with a specialized nutritionist. The process of recovery is usually long-term, difficult and fraught with complications, but the journey back to health can be enormously gratifying for the client and family.