The antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the cornerstone of medication treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Examples of SSRIs include Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. The SSRIs are a type of antidepressant used successfully in the treatment of both depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. People who respond to an SSRI generally experience improvement in several ways. They spend less time thinking about the defect and the thoughts are less intrusive and painful. Compulsive behaviors, such as checking or camouflaging, often diminish. Patients often report that associated anxiety and depression have lessened. Ultimately, self-confidence and self-esteem are enhanced.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Although research is still in the early stages, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) appears to be another good treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder. A particular type of CBT known as Exposure and Response Prevention has been shown, thus far, to be the most useful type of therapy for BDD. Exposure consists of having the individual expose the physical defect in feared and/or avoided situations (i.e. school or social situations) while response prevention involves helping the individual refrain from performing compulsive behaviors related to the defect. The goal is that, over time, anxiety associated with the feared defect and situation will decrease and the associated behaviors will lessen in frequency. This type of therapy is often recommended in addition to medication.