Define Body Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia, or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), is a mental health condition where an individual is excessively concerned with perceived defects or flaws in their physical appearance, which are often minor or not observable to others. This preoccupation can lead to significant emotional distress and impair daily functioning, as individuals may engage in repetitive behaviors or mental acts to cope with their concerns about their appearance.1

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Is Anorexia Body Dysmorphia?

Body dysmorphia plays a significant and often central role in anorexia nervosa. In the context of anorexia, body dysmorphia manifests through an intense preoccupation with body size, weight, and shape, leading to distorted body image and self-perception.

Here are key points highlighting the role of body dysmorphia in anorexia:

Distorted Body Image

Individuals with anorexia often have a distorted perception of their body, believing they are overweight even when they are underweight. This misperception is driven by body dysmorphia, where they fixate on specific body parts they perceive as flawed.

Behavioral Consequences

The distorted body image leads to extreme behaviors to control weight and shape, such as severe dietary restriction, excessive exercise, and other harmful practices. These behaviors are attempts to “fix” the perceived flaws and achieve an idealized body image.

Emotional and Psychological Impact

The preoccupation with body appearance and the perceived need to change it can result in significant emotional distress, anxiety, and depression. The fear of gaining weight and the drive for thinness become overwhelming, affecting daily functioning and overall well-being.

Perpetuation of Anorexia

Body dysmorphia reinforces the cycle of anorexia. Even as individuals lose weight, the distorted body image persists, leading to a continuous and often dangerous pursuit of thinness. The inability to recognize the severity of their low weight and health risks is a hallmark of both body dysmorphia and anorexia.

Treatment Implications

often focus on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to challenge and change distorted beliefs about body image. Building a healthier and more realistic perception of the body is essential for recovery.


Get The Help You Need Today!

Overall, body dysmorphia significantly influences the development, maintenance, and treatment of anorexia nervosa, making it a critical component to address in therapeutic settings. Call Anchored Tides Recovery today! 866-329-6639


Body dysmorphia, or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), is not classified as an eating disorder but is a mental health condition that can be closely related to and often co-occurs with eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. BDD involves an intense preoccupation with perceived flaws in physical appearance, which can contribute to the development or exacerbation of eating disorders as individuals attempt to “correct” these perceived flaws through disordered eating behaviors.
Social media can significantly affect body dysmorphia by promoting unrealistic and idealized standards of beauty, which can exacerbate feelings of dissatisfaction and distorted self-perception. Constant exposure to filtered and edited images, along with the comparison culture fostered by social media platforms, can intensify preoccupation with perceived physical flaws and increase the risk of developing or worsening body dysmorphic disorder.

Individuals with BDD experience intense preoccupation with their appearance and engage in repetitive behaviors, such as mirror checking or seeking reassurance, to manage their distress, similar to the compulsions seen in OCD.

Comprehensive Services Offered by Anchored Tides Recovery

Anchored Tides Recovery offers a broad spectrum of services designed to meet the diverse needs of women at various stages of their recovery journey or with disorders. Our comprehensive care model includes Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), and Outpatient Programs (OP), each tailored to provide the appropriate level of support and treatment. Here’s a closer look at these services and how they cater to the specific needs of our clients.

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Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

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Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

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Outpatient Program