What It’s Like To Live With Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder isn’t often discussed in the full capacity to which it should be. Some scoff at the idea of body dysmorphia as a disorder of vanity and self-obsession. Few realize the dangerous, painful, and debilitating lengths body dysmorphia can come to without help. In general, body dysmorphic disorder is an unhealthy fixation on perceived flaws in one’s appearance. Those flaws become core beliefs which deeply alter the way someone feels about themselves and how the world feels about them in return.

A Love-Hate (Mostly Hate) Relationship With The Mirror

People with body dysmorphia can’t stand looking in the mirror. They also can’t stop looking in the mirror to see if they’ve changed, if they look okay, if they can pretend to look okay. Obsessing over every single flaw and imperfection can take up hours spent in front of the mirror, fixating on appearance.

Unable To Leave The House

Leaving the house can mean being seen by other people who might judge, criticize, and comment on their appearance. Since they already think so lowly of their appearances, hearing the harsh words, or compliments, of others is an unbearable thought. Body dysmorphia can become so severe that people don’t leave their homes for weeks at a time, afraid to be seen.

Convinced Your Looks Hurt Other People

Body dysmorphia puts an unhealthy amount of emphasis on the perceptions of others. As though appearance were the most important quality in the world, those with body dysmorphia believe that their appearance is so unacceptable that it might actually hurt other people. People would be at a disservice having to witness the “atrocity” of what someone with body dysmorphia believes they are.

Distorted Perceptions

Body dysmorphia can go two ways. Most often, it focuses on someone thinking they are much “bigger” than they are, with a focus on being “small”. Other times, it can be thinking they are much smaller than they actually are while being unhealthy. Body dysmorphia can also included distorted perceptions of what is “beautiful” and “ugly”.

Irrational And Violent Thoughts

In extreme cases, body dysmorphia can lead to self-harm as a result of irrational and violent thoughts. Body dysmorphia can also lead to what is called “plastic surgery addiction” or an impulse to take extreme actions to fix what is “wrong” with their appearance.


Recovering from body dysmorphic disorder is possible. LEAD Recovery Center promotes health, balance, and a love for life through a transitional multi-phase program for those who have completed thirty day residential treatment. Call us today for more information at 1-800-380-0012.