Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) causes your child to dislike something about the way he looks and thinks about it all the time. Your child may get to the point where it is very hard to go outside or even talk to others without thinking about things that he thinks of as flaws. For example, your child may worry all the time that his skin is too pale, his chest is too small, or his nose is too long. These thoughts about a seeming flaw are distorted. Often the flaw that your child worries about is not real, or is something that others do not notice.
BDD is different from eating disorders. Children and teens with BDD may not be concerned about weight or body size. Instead, they feel that they have extremely ugly flaws of the face, hair, skin, or some other body part.
The exact cause of the disorder is not known. Possible causes include:
BDD most often starts in the teen years and may continue throughout adulthood. It may start gradually or suddenly.
Symptoms may include:
Children and teens with BDD may also be anxious, depressed, or even suicidal because of always focusing on the area that he thinks is flawed
Your healthcare provider or therapist will ask about your child's symptoms. He will make sure your child does not have a medical illness or drug or alcohol problem that could cause the symptoms.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a way to help your child identify and change views she has of herself, the world, and the future. CBT can make your child aware of unhealthy ways of thinking. It can also help her learn new thought and behavior patterns. The therapist also helps your child resist compulsive behaviors, such as mirror checking. Other types of therapy do not appear to be very effective in treating BDD.
Medicines may be prescribed. These medicines can help your child feel less anxious, depressed, and preoccupied with his or her seeming flaws.
Ask your child if she is feeling suicidal or has done anything to hurt herself. Get emergency care if your child has ideas of suicide or harming others or harming herself.