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Body Dysmorphia Criteria
Are you spending hours a day in front of the mirror, picking or pinching at skin, or using clothing to cover a perceived flaw?
Does the thought of going out in public with your perceived flaw visible frighten you to the point you hesitate to leave your home at all?
You might have body dysmorphia.
Some common signs of body dysmorphia include
- Fixating on a perceived flaw
- Drastic attempts were taken to correct a perceived flaw
- Intrusive thoughts about your body that lead inability to focus or function
- Feeling anxiety, guilt, or shame
- Avoiding social settings
- Picking at skin with fingers/tweezers
- Covering perceived flaws with clothes or a hat
The DSM-IV classifies body dysmorphic disorder as being a preoccupation with a perceived flaw that significantly impacts ones wellbeing. If you have body dysmorphic disorder, the flaw is likely non-existent or slight according to the DSM- IV.
This quiz will help you identify if your relationship with your body or certain features is causing you significant distress.
This body dysmorphia quiz be a good guide to knowing if seeking additional professional assessment and support is needed.
How Are Body Dysmorphia and Eating Disorders Related
Body dysmorphia and eating disorders have many symptoms in common. These symptoms include:
- Fixation on perceived body flaws
- Compensitory behavior ty try to correct flaws
- Significant interference with daily activities or mental functioning because of perceived flaws
- Avoidance of social situations
- Constantly checking body in mirrors, with hands, or measuring
- Comparing your body to others’ bodies
- Excessively working out to try to change the body
- Significant anxiety and stress when it comes to thinking about perceived thoughts
- Suicidal ideation or self-harm
Many symptoms and coping mechanisms of eating disorders mirror those of body dysmorphic disorder.
However, If someone’s preoccupation with the body can be better explained by an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, this would technically disclude them from the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for body dysmorphia.
It is important that eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorders are clinically differentiated as they may or may not co-occur.
However, it’s critical that we see how the symptoms are so closely connected as they will both require substantial body image work to eliminate symptoms.
Preoccupation with body weight/shape and size can be just as mentally and emotionally distressing as any other perceived flaw on the body.
Thus we will examine all variables related to body weight/shape and size as we work through the body dysmorphia quiz below.
Limitations of DSM-IV body dysmorphia diagnosis
I have a bit of difficulty with the criteria for body dysmorphia according to DSM-IV.
The first is with the language “perceived flaws that are not observable or slight to others.”
The problem with this type of language is that the entire diagnosis is subjective. Whether or not a person meets the criteria per body dysmorphic disorder is entirely dependent on whether those in a culture may deem the body part “flawed.”
Whether a feature is viewed culturally as “flawed” or not will be dependent on:
- Ethnicity and race
- Access to healthcare and cosmetic surgeries/dentistry
- Social circles
- Financial stability
Thus for the purposes of this quiz, I steered away from the “non existent or slight” component of the actual diagnosis. This is because I believe everyone experiencing extreme distress with their bodies deserved adequate support.
If you are experiencing extreme distress surrounding your body or parts of your body, your experiencing is valid.
Can I Self Diagnose Body Dysmorphia?
Body dysmorphic disorder is a real clinical condition and can only be properly diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider.
Self diagnosing body dysmorphia may be harmful as we may mistake other types of mental health conditions for body dysmorphia. We may also feel inclined to initiate treatment regimens that are ineffective or harmful.
Does Body Dysmorphia Go Away?
Body dysmorphia is not likely to go away without the support of a trained clinical team. This team should include a mental health counselor, physician, and potentially a dietitian.
In fact- the more we compensate for our “perceived flaws” the more distress, shame, and guilt we are likely to experience. The ways in we try to correct the flaw will actually increase the level of distress we experience with body dysmorphia over time.
What Can I do If I suspect I have Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
In addition to working with a healthcare team, there are other great ways to promote body positivity such as:
- Journaling using body positive journal prompts
- Using urge surfing when you want to try to compensate for a flaw
- Try to make peace with food if body dysmorphia is related to weight/shape or size
- Identify your own fatphobia to make peace with your body
- Practice joyfrul movement instead of using movement to compensate for perceived flaws
- Practice ways to stop body checking
Treatment measures with a licensed healthcare provider typically include medications, cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy.
It’s important to remember that this body dysmorphia quiz is NOT a diagnosis.
This quiz is NOT a substitute for professional mental health advice and is for informational purposes only.