Penile Dysmorphic Disorder

Content written by Irwin Goldstein MD

OVERVIEW:

Penile dysmorphic disorder is a psychological disorder in which a man is excessively concerned about and preoccupied by a perceived deficit in the size of his penis. Penile dysmorphic disorder is to be differentiated from micropenis, an unusually small penis

An individual with penile dysmorphic disorder often has a debilitating or excessive fear of judgment by others. The individual may complain of perceived small penis alone, or he may have several other perceived body inadequacies causing him psychological distress. In some men with penile dysmorphic disorder, there is impaired occupational and/or social functioning, sometimes to the point of severe depression and anxiety, social withdrawal or complete social isolation.

CAUSES:

The onset of symptoms of penile dysmorphic disorder generally occurs in adolescence or early adulthood. Personal criticism of the individual’s own penis size usually occurs during this age period. The disorder is linked to significantly diminished quality of life and can be associated with major depressive disorder and social phobia. Penile dysmorphic disorder may be considered a risk factor for suicide.

TREATMENT:

Treatment of penile dysmorphic disorder may be with psychotherapy, cogntive behavioral therapy and anti-depressants. Penile dysmorphic disorder is a chronic illness and symptoms are likely to persist, or worsen, if left untreated.

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