Understanding Body Dysmorphia vs. Dysphoria Skip to main content

Do you ever wonder what’s the explanation behind Body Dysmorphia vs Dysphoria? Let’s have a peek!

Some people may experience unpleasant thoughts and uncomfortable feelings about their bodies, which may trigger destructive habits that ultimately disrupt daily life. Feeling unappealing in your own skin is anticipated when such feelings take control of your mind.

The two kinds of disorders discussed in this blog are certain mental health issues that can significantly interfere with your everyday life. Though dysphoria is feeling unsatisfied with your own gender or body, dysmorphia is considered to be a negative obsession with your appearance. We will also discuss symptoms, existing treatments, underlying causes and effective ways to recover from it.

Key Points

  1. Explanation of Body Dysmorphia and Dysphoria.
  2. Body Dysmorphia vs. Dysphoria: Differences.
  3. Similarities between Body Dysmorphia and Dysphoria.
  4. Increasing awareness and understanding of these conditions.

Body Dysmorphia

Characterized as a mental health disorder, BDD or Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a severe mental health issue that instigates an obsession with one’s appearance, mostly negatively. Majority of the time, these flaws are quite minor and trivial, but for someone with BDD, they may appear quite significant and affect their overall personality and perception of themselves.

Common indicators of BDD include spending long hours evaluating one’s appearance, grooming or cosmetic surgeries and refraining from social gatherings for fear of embarrassment. Individuals suffering from BDD may also feel melancholy, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.


Despite numerous theories, the reasons behind BDD remain largely unknown, with experts believing that a mix of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors likely contribute. Certain pre-existing issues – like depression, anxiety, or doubt – may serve as possible catalysts.

Also, bullying or teasing over one’s body image, for example, may potentially contribute to the development of BDD.

Diagnosis & Treatment

To pinpoint an accurate diagnosis for this condition, individuals should be assessed by a mental health specialist who can review their medical history and symptoms.

There are numerous treatment options to consider, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Psychotherapy or SSRIs, yet, as always, personalized care and situational factors should be incorporated. Related to a multitude of experiences and conditions, group therapy is often aided by self-reflection, helpful techniques, support groups, and yoga.

Group therapy can be assisted by beneficial methods such as support groups, yoga, and self-reflection.


Often expressed through a discomforting feeling, dissatisfaction in life, or other pressing matters, Dysphoria is an accumulation of these feelings. Though particularly connected to mental health issues like anxiety and depression, its consequences can be gleaned by anyone.

Types of Dysphoria

There are 3 types of Dysphoria:

  1. Gender Dysphoria: Signifies the role gender plays in Gender Dysphoria, leading to stress and other problems.
  2. Body Dysphoria: Refers to dissatisfaction or discomfort with one’s physical appearance or body shape.
  3. Social Dysphoria: A term used to describe discomfort related to one’s social interactions, such as feeling excluded or isolated.


The primary reason for Dysphoria is determined to rise from numerous biological, environmental and psychological triggers. Some studies suggest that Dysphoria may be a by-product of irregularities in certain hormones or neurotransmitters. Meanwhile, other reports state that it may be linked to distressful experiences or societal factors like stigma or discrimination.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Dysphoria is normally diagnosed after a psychological or psychiatric evaluation. Treatment solutions may differ based on the real cause of the dysphoria and the individual’s needs and preferences.

For instance, available treatments for Gender Dysphoria comprise gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy. Meanwhile, available treatments for Body Dysphoria include psychotherapy or prescriptions.

If you are suffering from Dysphoria, it is critical that you seek help from qualified medical professionals.

Body Dysmorphia Vs. Dysphoria: Key Differences

While both conditions involve negative feelings about one’s body, there are some key differences between the two.

Body Dysmorphia vs. Dysphoria (Table Format)

Body Dysmorphia Dysphoria
Focus of Concern Characterized by an obsession over perceived flaws or defects in one’s appearance, often to the point of worrying over minor flaws. Often related to gender identity and may involve a discrepancy between one’s gender identification and physical body.
Root Cause Normally associated with a history of trauma or abuse. Associated with gender dysphoria, which instigates a sense of distress in regard to an individual’s gender identity.
Treatment Approaches Treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication. Treated with hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery.
Diagnostic Criteria Categorized as an obsessive-compulsive and related disorder. Categorized as a gender Dysphoria disorder.

What are the Similarities?

Gender dysphoria vs. gender dysmorphia (body) are two different conditions, but they share some similarities.

  • Symptoms
  • Body Dysmorphia: Preoccupation with perceived flaws or defects in appearance, recurrent behaviors connected to the perceived flaw, social retreat or avoidance, obsessive grooming or checking activities.
  • Dysphoria: Strong discomfort or distress related to one’s gender identity or sex characteristics, feeling like one’s body does not match one’s gender identity, avoiding or feeling distressed about activities or situations that are associated with one’s sex assigned at birth.
  • Challenges

Elevated risks of anxiety, depression, substance misuse, and self-harming behaviors can negatively impact daily routines and social/professional connections.

Get Help

It’s crucial to get assistance from a mental health expert, such as a counselor or psychiatrist, who can offer treatment, like cognitive behavioral therapy, medication management, or a mix of the two (for Body Dysmorphia), and hormone therapy, gender-affirming surgery, or counseling (for Dysphoria).

Note: Remember that not everyone who experiences dysphoria will desire or need medical therapies, and the choice to explore medical treatment is personal.


Due to the of knowledge surrounding Body Dysmorphia vs. Dysphoria, it is essential to spread awareness. Improving comprehension and acknowledgment of these conditions will decrease stigma and enhance treatment accessibility.

Body Dysmorphia and Dysphoria are distinctive, but they can eventually have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health and quality of life.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of Body Dysmorphia or Dysphoria, seeking help from a qualified health professional is a significant step towards handling symptoms and improving overall well-being.

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