Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about perceived flaws in their appearance. A person with BDD may believe that these perceived flaws are noticeable to other people. This causes anxiety, distress and embarrassment.
People of any age can have BDD, but it is most common in teenagers and young adults. It affects both men and women.
Having BDD does not mean you are vain or self-obsessed. It can be very upsetting and have a big impact on your life.
Symptoms of BDD
You might have BDD if you:
- worry a lot about a specific area of your body (the face is most common but BDD can be about any area of the body)
- you constantly criticise your appearance
- spend a lot of time comparing your looks with other people's
- look at yourself in mirrors a lot or avoid mirrors altogether
- make a lot of effort to conceal flaws – for example, by spending a long time combing your hair, applying make-up, excessively using the gym or choosing clothes
- pick at your skin to make it "smooth"
- concern yourself with careful choice of lighting
BDD can seriously affect your daily life, including your work, social life and relationships. BDD can also lead to depression, self-harm and even thoughts of suicide.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you manage your BDD symptoms by changing the way you think and behave.
It helps you to learn what triggers your symptoms, and teaches you different ways of thinking about and dealing with your habits. You and your therapist will agree on goals for the therapy and work together to try to reach them.
You may also be given some self-help information to read at home