Body Dysmorphic Disorder Treatment

San Diego’s Top Source for BDD Treatment in San Diego

Many women in today’s American culture feel extreme pressure to be “beautiful” or “have a great body.”  That pressure can come from many sources like mass media, movies, social media, partners, friends, family, or even from ourselves.  When that pressure leads to constant thoughts about imperfection that affect your ability to function in daily life, you may be struggling with Body Dysmorphia.  If you are exhausted from the constant negative thoughts and want to regain your ability to participate in your life, call us and learn more about our body dysmorphic disorder treatment. We are here to help.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: What is it?

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a psychological disorder in which a person becomes consumed intrusive thoughts of imagined or slight defects in their appearance.

Who is Affected by Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

At one time or another, most of us become aware of slight imperfections in our physical features. When these types of negative thoughts become obsessive and result in emotional distress that interferes with daily functioning, body dysmorphic disorder may be evident.

BDD affects about one in every fifty people – about 2% of all Americans – men and women, equally. It develops most often in adolescent years, a time when self-awareness, social categorizations, and peer pressure mount against significant, and sometimes awkward, physical changes occur. The causes of BDD are undefined, but certain personality traits and life experiences, as well as biological, environmental, genetic, and neurological factors may contribute to its development.

Signs and Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

People with BDD may obsess for hours, even a whole day, and the fixation is difficult to resist or control. This preoccupation and self-judgment can result in low self-esteem, severe emotional distress, and it can hinder activities in daily life and challenge relationships. They may find it difficult to think about anything except their own physical imperfections.

Signs and symptoms of BDD can include excessive grooming, frequent changing of clothing, checking in a mirror or avoiding mirrors, disproportionate exercise, comparing their appearance to that of others, and attempts to camouflage the imperfection with clothing, hats, or makeup. The individual might remark repeatedly on her displeasure with a certain feature, and this hyper-focus becomes unreasonable and disabling. An individual might believe that others take special notice of her appearance, and even perceive others as mocking her. She may have perfectionistic tendencies, avoid social settings, or seek cosmetic correction.

Shame and embarrassment about one’s appearance may get in the way of seeking help. The obsession may have gotten to the point that the BDD sufferer is not objective enough to ask for help. BDD doesn’t usually get better on its own and it often worsens over time, leading to depression, isolation, suicide ideation, and self-harm behaviors.

How Can I Help Someone with BDD?

Helping someone with BDD begins with getting an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Assessment by a knowledgeable mental health professional is the beginning of healing. When meeting with a trained clinician, it is important to address the concern, specifically. Talk about the fixation(s) specifically. Try to be as transparent as possible.

Treatment for BDD

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps sufferers identify irrational thoughts and change unhealthy and unproductive thinking. Sometimes, psychotropic medications are used as an aid to relieve obsessive thinking. Group psychotherapy, family therapy, and trauma therapies, when appropriate, contribute to healing and recovery. For lasting success, body dysmorphic disorder treatment must be comprehensive, addressing any co-occurring issues such as disordered eating, trauma, mood disorders, or substance abuse.

If you suspect that someone you know is struggling with body dysmorphic disorder, call and speak to our supportive, knowledgeable staff. We can provide you with guidance to help your loved one get the support they need.

Recovery is possible. Treatment is available. We are here to help.


Haven Hills Recovery – Trauma Informed Care for Women