Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Causes and Risk Factors

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Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental illness that causes people to become obsessed with an imagined physical defect that others often do not see. The defect can be extremely minor. Many people with this disorder may even turn to plastic surgery to try and fix the defect. There are certain causes and risk factors of body dysmorphic disorder.

The Causes of BDD

The exact cause of this condition continues to remain unknown. Although the cause remains unknown, many believe it may be caused by problems with neurotransmitters in the brain. There are many risk factors that often increase a person chance of developing this BDD.

Risk Factors

If a person has some of the risk factors known to be associated with this condition, they may develop BDD. This condition is often present in people that have other mental health disorders. Depression and anxiety also appear to cause body dysmorphic disorder.

Often, people that have experienced a traumatic event have this condition. The traumatic events usually occur during childhood. It can be a physical or emotionally traumatic experience that increases a person’s chance for developing BDD.

When a person experiences extreme criticism from people, they are likely to develop BDD. The criticism experiences often involve their appearance. It can be criticism from parents, peers, or society.

People that suffer from low self esteem often suffer from BDD. Many have low self esteem due to feeling inadequate about their physical appearance and may compare their physical appearances to those of others.

Diagnosing BDD

Diagnosing BDD is very difficult. Many people do not seek help for their problem because they often feel ashamed. This makes it very difficult to know exactly how many people suffer from the condition. The diagnosis process of the condition involves an evaluation of a patients mental history and a physical examination. An evaluation by a psychologist is often needed to diagnose this condition. The patient’s behavior is usually monitored before a diagnosis is made.

Treatment for BDD

There are three main treatments for BDD. They are often combined for full effects. The treatment options for this condition are psychotherapy, medication, and group therapy. It is easier to treat this condition when the causes and risk factors of body dysmorphic disorder are known.


“Mental Health: Body Dysmorphic Disorder” WebMD.com

“Body Dysmorphic Disorder” MayoClinic.com