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What are the Different Types of Body Dysmorphic Disorder Treatment?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are very few ways to treat body dysmorphic disorder. Essentially, the only options are medication or therapy and sometimes both. Some people attempt to restructure the body in order to make it fit the unrealistic ideals present in the mind, but this is not treatment. In fact, the only body dysmorphic disorder treatment that will work is to abandon the unrealistic ideals entirely, which means failing to meet them intentionally.

Many people use the term body dysmorphic disorder to mean anorexia or other eating disorders in which the person perceives his or her body as being much fatter than it actually is. This disorder can actually manifest in a variety of other ways and generally involves obsession over a perceived imperfection. The imperfection might be as small as a mole or as large as the width of a person's shoulders. A person with this disorder obsesses over this imperfection and will often experience anxiety and depression relating to the inability to rid the body of the imperfection.

The only two ways in which this disorder can be treated effectively are through therapy and medication. Therapy, as a body dysmorphic disorder treatment, typically works by encouraging the person's thought patterns to cease the negative obsessions. Medication that is used as a body dysmorphic disorder treatment works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Anti-depressants are typically used for this purpose.

People who have this disorder often attempt to treat themselves by seeking plastic surgery or other body modifications. The problem with this solution is that surgeries must be repeated, or new problems will arise that require additional surgeries. It is common for people with large fortunes to satisfy the urges caused by body dysmorphic disorder through surgery, but people who are not rich will never be able to maintain the number of surgeries required by this disorder. Moreover, surgeries will never result in happiness if the problem is mental. As such, most people with body dysmorphic disorder end up in therapy eventually, even if surgery has already been tried.

Any body dysmorphic disorder treatment will involve abandoning the idea of the imperfection altogether rather than getting rid of the specific imperfection. This is because while a small imperfection, like a mole, might be easily altered, the mentality of this disorder will remain. A body dysmorphic disorder treatment must work to change the way a patient thinks about his or her body rather than the body itself. Otherwise, the person will continue to think in self-destructive ways.

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