While body dysmorphic disorder does not only appear in cases of individuals suffering from eating disorders, there appears to be some overlap between individuals suffering from body dysmorphic disorder and eating disorders. Additionally, body dysmorphic disorder, if it remains untreated for long periods of time, can move to an obsession with additional or different body parts and can even develop into an eating disorder including anorexia or bulimia.
Individuals suffering from anorexia show an extremely distorted body image as they are driven by an overwhelming fear of being fat and an obsession that no matter how much weight they lose, it is still not enough. Therefore, these individuals often see themselves as being much larger than they are even despite being extremely underweight. Additionally, individuals suffering from bulimia may also suffer from body dysmorphic disorder in which they view their body as much larger or fatter than it actually is.
Recognizing Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Eating Disorders
If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from body dysmorphia and/or an eating disorder it is important to look out for signs of eating disorders. Additionally, the following signs can help determine if an individual suffers from body dysmorphic disorder:
- Displaying an overly negative body image or self-esteem
- Obsessively checking one’s appearance in mirrors and other reflective surfaces
- Grooming excessively
- Showing reduced or poor performance at work or school
- Obsessing over one’s physical appearance and qualities
- Utilizing extreme diet and exercise behaviors
- Undergoing numerous cosmetic surgery operations without satisfaction
- Avoiding social gatherings and social situations
- Comparing one’s physical appearance with others
- Touching the skin and picking at the skin to smooth it
Treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Related Eating Disorders
Because of the potentially deadly complications of the eating disorders that can result from body dysmorphic disorder, if you believe that you or a loved one may be suffering from body dysmorphic disorder and/or an eating disorder, it is important to contact a therapist or an eating disorder specialist to begin a treatment program.
McCallum Place Eating Disorder Centers are eating disorder treatment facilities that offers a variety of eating disorder treatment programs in St. Louis and Kansas City. Our treatment centers use a combination of treatment methods to address any body dysmorphic thoughts regarding size, shape, or weight, which may be contributing to the development and continuation of eating disorders. Using therapy to address body dysmorphic disorder and any distorted thoughts and perceptions of a person’s body image can help eating disorder treatment programs to be more effective, especially for long-term recovery. An ultimate goal during treatment for body dysmorphic disorders as well as eating disorders is to help the individual develop a positive self-image and improved self-esteem.