Body image refers to the thoughts, impressions, and perceptions that one has about his/her body. Body image is constructed by the brain using a "body schema" that relies on physical and cognitive inputs. Negative or distorted body image is a very common symptom of an eating disorder, characterized by body dissatisfaction; that image is unduly influenced by weight, shape and appearance and oftentimes the weight seen on the scale is the predominant determinant of body image and mood. Body image typically improves after weight restoration, but most eating disorder treatment involves the addressing of body image issues. Some patients suffer from a brain disorder independent of the malnourishment and experience a distorted body image that is seen and felt by the patient: see Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
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