Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

What is it?

This disorder has also been nicknamed ‘Imagined Ugliness Syndrome’ as sufferers of the condition have an irrational preoccupation with a perceived body defect, either present in themselves or in others; the latter being dysmorphophobia by proxy.

BDD sufferers cannot accept that their fears of their perceived body defect are out of all proportion, and frequently seek plastic surgery or other measures in an attempt to rectify the perceived problem.

DIY self diagnosis

If you can answer YES to most of the questions it is likely that you are affected by BDD.

Over the past 6 months:

  • Have you felt disgusted by a particular aspect of your body?
  • Did you feel that a part of your body is abnormal?
  • Did you spend a lot of time examining/scrutinising your appearance?
  • Did you avoid looking at yourself in mirrors, windows etc.?
  • Did you feel that other people are looking at your appearance or are disgusted by it?

Anxiety UK strongly advises that people seek further information and guidance from their GP who will be able to make a formal diagnosis.

BDD fact sheet

To find out more information about BDD, click here to download a copy of our fact sheet.



How we can help

Anxiety UK is a user-led charity with more than forty years experience in supporting those living with anxiety. By becoming a member of Anxiety UK, you will have access to a range of benefits, including:

  • Access to reduced cost therapy within two weeks of submitting your therapy request
  • Access to our helpline (available Monday-Friday, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm) staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety
  • Receipt of four issues of Anxious Times, our quarterly members’ magazine
  • Access to the members only section of our website, featuring regular support surgeries facilitated by anxiety experts
  • Access to specialist helplines, including the psychiatric pharmacy helpline

And many, many other benefits that will help you manage your anxiety long term. To become a member of Anxiety UK click here or ring 08444 775 774 today.

Recommended resources

Overcoming Body Image Problems is a self help book based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). You can purchase it online in the Anxiety UK shop by clicking here.


The following websites may also be of use to those affected by BDD:

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