Treatment methods

We’ll help you accept your body again

Therapy for body dysmorphic disorder is primarily about getting you to perceive your body in its entirety again. Psychotherapeutic treatment methods have been shown to have the best effect in achieving this. This can also be combined with medicinal therapy in some cases.

Conservative treatment methods

Body dysmorphic disorder – therapy: Psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy strategies, such as confrontation therapy and body acceptance therapy, have proven to be effective in treating body dysmorphic disorder. The elements of therapy include: 

  • Psychoeducation
    At the beginning of treatment, we’ll provide you with detailed information about your diagnosis and the various methods of treatment. You’ll also learn what “normal” preoccupation with appearance can look like. 
  • Developing a personal disorder model
    We work with you to develop a personal disorder model to clarify the origins and progression of your illness. Sometimes this step alone is enough to realize that your problem with your own appearance is rooted not in the way you actually look, but your mental perception of it. Then you’ll need other coping strategies.
  • Understanding the function of the disorder
     We work with you to find out what function your disorder has for you. Once you understand how the disorder helps or has helped you, successful treatment will be possible. 
  • Change debilitating ways of thinking
    These are negative thought patterns such as “I need to be perfect,” “I am only worthy of love if I look good,” “other people judge me negatively due to my appearance.” In therapy you’ll learn to recognise your typical thought patterns, scrutinise them and correct them. 
  • Change behaviour
    People with body dysmorphic disorder often feel ashamed due to their appearance and/or are afraid of negative reactions in their environment. That’s why they try to hide their flaws as much as they can or to avoid situations where they feel uncomfortable. In your therapy you’ll learn to face situations that trigger your fears without resorting to your usual safety behaviours. This allows you to examine whether your fears are even true. By learning that what you fear will not come to pass, you’ll feel safer again and can gradually reduce your feelings of anxiety and shame.

Body dysmorphic disorder: Treatment through medication

There is currently only one group of medications that has been proven effective in treating body dysmorphic disorder. However, this type of anti-depressive must be taken in higher doses at first and won’t take sufficient effect until after more than three months. Drug treatment should only be used in combination with cognitive behavioural therapy, where possible.