Due to the constant preoccupation of their physical appearance, excessive repetitive behaviors or mental habits begin to be deployed to combat those thoughts.
These behaviors include, but are not limited to mirror checking, excessive grooming, skin picking, reassurance seeking, or comparing themselves to others. Individuals will often engage in excessive grooming (combing, styling, shaving, plucking, or pulling hair), camouflaging (continuous application of makeup or hiding disliked areas with hats, clothing, makeup or hair), seeking reassurance for the perceived flaws, checking the disliked body areas by touching them, excessively exercising, and seeking cosmetic procedures to aid in “fixing” the problem areas. Individuals may engage in excessive tanning or repeatedly changing their clothing. Individuals with perceived skin defects most commonly will perform compulsive skin picking to improve the problem area. However, skin picking can lead to skin damage, infection, or ruptured blood vessels.
To receive a diagnosis of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, the previously mentioned preoccupations must cause significant impairment in the individual’s social, occupational, and other areas of daily functioning, and must be differentiated from an eating disorder.
A form of Body Dysmorphic Disorder that almost exclusively occurs in males is known as Muscle Dysmorphia. Suffers of this disorder believe their body appears too small or inadequately lean or muscular. Individuals with this form of Body Dysmorphic Disorder often have “normal” looking bodies or tend to already have muscular bodies.
Prevalence of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
The age of onset for Body Dysmorphic Disorder is typically late childhood or early adolescence. The average age of diagnosis is 17 years old. Body Dysmorphic Disorder impacts both genders equally.