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What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder BDD and Body Dysmorphia Treatment

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder BDD and Body Dysmorphia Treatment Most of us have something that we wish were different about our bodies. For example: a crooked nose, small eyes, lips that are too thin or thick, stomach rolls, thighs, legs or arms that are either too small or big. Although we may fret about our imperfections, this is not body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) as they don’t interfere with our daily lives.

People who have or display signs of body dysmorphic disorder BDD on the other hand think about their real or perceived flaws repeatedly which can add up to several hours a day. Where they feel trapped with the same cycling negative thoughts.

Even though people may tell them that they look fine, they just can’t accept or feel it. It goes in one ear and out the other for people with body dysmorphic disorder BDD as they are convinced that their appearance is flawed. This perception of themselves leads to anxiety, extreme emotional distress and can often interfere with their daily functioning. For example: they may miss work or school, they may isolate themselves for long periods of time and avoid social situations because they do not feel that they look good enough to be seen. At first people with body dysmorphic disorder may decline social gatherings, parties, networking events, so it may be confused with social anxiety disorder however those with body dysmorphia can also avoid family and friends due to fear that others will notice their perceived physical flaws.

If you spot these signs and traits of it in yourself then there is body dysmorphia treatment and counselling than can help. Even though you may think how can body dysmorphia treatment and counselling help me; my stomach is fat or my nose is crooked, many I have supported have found it can help ease their mind and get to the root of the issue, I will share more about the holistic approach to anxiety, body dysmorphia and eating disorders soon, so do stay tuned.


Body Dysmorphia Disorder BDD Statistics

Research has shown that BDD tends to develop in adolescents and teenagers, it can often begin at 12-13 years of age as the body and hormones change.  Although in my experience offering body dysmorphia counselling treatment this is not always the case. Often people can get it after an emotionally painful or traumatic event and the negative emotions can be transferred and projected on to the body if that makes sense?

The American Psychiatric Association, 2013 statistics showed that it affects men and women almost equally. In the United States, BDD occurs in about 2.5% in males, and in 2.2 % of females. So it is not a women’s issue as many falsely believe.

Stuart I helped, name changed came to me for body dysmorphia treatment in Dubai hated his stomach. For years he was unable to put on the light whilst going to the bath room or showering. I asked him if he could try to turn on the light and it was too difficult for him at the beginning of our counselling sessions. It was affecting his life in many ways, which is why he want to change it. He couldn’t go swimming and take his top off and that bothered him, he wanted to relax and enjoy the pool and beach with his wife and daughter but couldn’t. He wasted so much money on clothes he brought but never wore because he felt his stomach looked fat and big, he could never re-try on that same t shirt so had to be thrown or given away.

He worried about other people looking at him and seeing his stomach as fat, he felt ashamed of it. Yet if you looked at him and of course I did plenty of times in our Dubai counselling sessions you could see that he is in great shape, healthy and trim looking.

His wife could not touch or stroke his stomach area and massages were out of the question. Lastly he didn’t like knowing and living with the issue everyday that he has to have the light off in the bathroom. It was a signal to him that he had an issue, a problem and he wanted to get rid of it. Using a combination of techniques we changed this and he now is able to see himself in the mirror, shower with the light on and swim freely without covering up.

This is one example, let’s look at some of the other common traits and symptoms for body dysmorphia, so you can decide if getting treatment online or where you live could benefit.


Common Traits and Symptoms of Body Dysmorphia Disorder BDD

Body Dysmorphia Disorder is a body-image disorder which is characterized by persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one’s appearance.

This perceived flaw can include any part of the body. Research has shown that the most common preoccupation is finding fault with skin, nose, hair, chest, and stomach. It also may be focused on muscle mass or muscle definition for some; this tend to be more men than women.  I have noticed in the people that have come to me for body dysmorphia treatment and counselling have found that with age their perceived faults increase rather than decrease without therapy. As women and men get more concerned about wrinkles in their face and other parts of the body that change during the aging process. This can be in addition to any other symptoms and signs of body dysmorphia they were showing beforehand.

In reality, the defect that is causing the person with body dysmorphia disorder so much stress may be only a slight imperfection or nonexistent. Unrecognizable for many to see yet to the sufferer of this awful illness it will be significant and prominent. Telling someone not to worry about it or think about it just won’t work. The main symptom and sign of body dysmorphia disorder therefore is the harmful ways of thinking and behaving, acting as if their perceived flaw makes them need to hide away. It is so real and stressful that it can often cause severe emotional distress and difficulties in daily functioning.


Causes of Body Dysmorphia Disorder BDD

The causes of Body Dysmorphia Disorder BDD are unclear, which makes treatment more complex. Biological and environmental factors can contribute to the disorder’s development. Biological factors may include a genetic predisposition and neurobiological factors such as malfunctioning of serotonin in the brain.


Then there are life experiences: growing up in an environment of abuse, being emotionally or physically abused as a child, sexual trauma and bullying at school or in a social group. Other more common traumas can effect adults and children as well such as divorce, accidents, financial losses, death of a loved one, natural disasters, war and terrorism, and any other kind of loss can be put onto the body.


This is why Body Dysmorphic Treatment and Counselling (whether in Dubai, UAE or Online) needs to combine healing trauma from the past, new positive ways to think and behave and boosting someone’s self-esteem through exercises and actions. Body Dysmorphia Counselling can go along way in helping someone change, but if it does not help the person to accept themselves in all areas, they may find another body part they don’t like and rather than be healed it get’s transferred to another area of the body. Not surprisingly Body Dysmorphia is linked to anxiety and eating disorders. So it is important if you are considering help, to ask for ways to also overcome the worry and any other obsessive behavior. Social anxiety treatment is often a symptom caused by body dysmorphia so in my practice in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and online I give tools and support to increase their confidence and get people feeling good about themselves, so any social anxiety fades away.


If you are interested in finding out more then do visit my website where you will be able to book a free breakthrough session with me to discuss.


Coming up I will have more episodes on the signs and symptoms of body dysmorphia and how I have helped myself and others if you are interested in this stay tuned. As I definitely realized looking back that the reason the eating disorders treatment didn’t work for me was because I had body dysmorphia and until I managed to change my thinking from irrational to rational and clear the past, my preoccupation just went from my weight to my wrinkles.


Hope something in this has been useful or helpful for you. If you have any suggestions for topics or questions for me do get in touch.


From my heart to yours, Nicola


P.S If you are considering Hypnotherapy, Individual or Couple counselling in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Online do reach out to me to book a free 30 minute chat were we can discuss

Mihaela BotnariMihaela Botnari
12:54 17 Mar 23
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Helen HHelen H
19:13 10 Nov 22
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Justin LossJustin Loss
13:23 30 Jun 22
Nicola has been a massive help. I had tried traditional counseling and it had seemed to be moving me further away from what I wanted. After listening to several of Nicola's podcasts I decided to reach out to her. The discovery call was enlightening and she described a process that was more focused on creating a better future vs reliving the pass. From there I went through her Breakthrough Program...All I can say is Wow! Her program and guidance has quickly changed my mindset which has in turn improved all my relationships and overall stress level. I highly recommend working with Nicola and can't thank her enough for her help and care.
Ciaran CarlisleCiaran Carlisle
22:16 23 Jan 22
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Loida Delgado-PerezLoida Delgado-Perez
03:09 22 Jan 22
Nicola's marriage counselling have been life changing for both my partner and I. The learnings have been exponential and have transform us individually and as a couple. We reached out to Nicola at the lowest point of our relationship and about to break apart. Her compassionate and smart yet practical advice and exercises transform us in such a way that we are now at the best we've ever been personally and as a couple.As a result we've decided to get married and book Nicola every year for a couple's check in! I couldn't recommend her sessions more to anyone feeling stuck and wanting to be in a better place. Best investment of time, money and effort EVER. Thank you Nicola, you are an inspiration to me and many others :)
Christianne KaddoumChristianne Kaddoum
17:19 20 Oct 21
The hours I’ve spent working with Nicola have been the most valuable of my life.I now feel equipped to do things differently. It’s been the most liberating and empowering experience and I’ve learnt things that will stay with me forever.Through the excellent help from Nicola, it is now possible for me to have a different and healthier approach to various situations.She has professionally helped me to consider my perspectives in a way I hadn’t before.I can finally begin to reframe my life experience and see them in a whole new light.Thanks Nicola!