5 Signs of Weight Obsession

Having a Warped Image of Your Body

Looking in the mirror and honestly evaluating what you see can be a useful first step and motivating factor along the road to weight loss. But for some people, the image that stares back from the looking glass can be as warped as Alice's size-shifting body in Lewis Carroll's famous tale.

If you begin to focus too strongly on how fat one part of your body is (say your abs or triceps) -- especially if those body parts fall within normal size ranges -- it could be a sign that you are developing something known as body dysmorphic disorder. Those afflicted by this condition, which is sometimes called "imagined ugliness," tend to be extremely self-conscious, constantly comparing themselves to others, obsessively checking (or avoiding) mirrors, and believe that others share the same negative opinion of their looks that they have. This can, in turn, lead them to become introverted and to avoid social situations. In extreme instances, those suffering from body dysmorphic disorder may also undergo repeated cosmetic procedures that fail to deliver satisfaction.

Treatment for body dysmorphic disorder consists of cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medications, the most common being selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are commonly prescribed for depression because they inhibit the hormone serotonin from being taken up by brain neurons, which increases the concentration of serotonin that appears to balance mood.