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Diagnostic Criteria for Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

The diagnosis of BDD was removed from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the diagnostic system used in the UK in 1992. The generally accepted definition of BDD used today comes from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) used in the USA which states:

Diagnostic criteria for 300.7 Body Dysmorphic Disorder
A. Preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance. If a slight physical anomaly is present, the person's concern is markedly excessive.
B. The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
C. The preoccupation is not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., dissatisfaction with body shape and size in Anorexia Nervosa).

The treatments for BDD are very similar to those for OCD with the treatment found to be the most effective in successfully treating it being Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).  Some people find they also need the additional support of anti-depressant medications to help them through the therapy which will usually be a form of anti-depressant SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor) medication.

CBT will teach BDD sufferers to confront their fears without camouflage and to stop all 'safety behaviours' such as excessive camouflage or avoiding showing one’s profile. This means repeatedly learning to tolerate the resulting discomfort and to test out their beliefs. Facing up to the fear becomes easier and the anxiety gradually subsides. Sufferers begin by confronting simple situations and then gradually work up to more difficult ones.

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