Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

What is it?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) (also known as Body Dysmorphia) is a condition that causes people to feel anxious or worried about perceived flaws in their appearance.

These flaws are often not seen or noticed by others but can be very distressing to the individual experiencing symptoms of BDD and reassurance from others does not often help alleviate these feelings.

It can cause people to experience over analysing or obsessions with perceived flaws in themselves. BDD can manifest in drastic and sometimes compulsive behaviours in order to hide or rectify the perceived problems. For example, skin picking may be a symptom of BDD.

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 preoccupied with strong negative feelings towards a particular aspect of your body (potentially viewing it as ‘abnormal’)?
  • Have you spent a lot of time comparing yourself to others?
  • Have you actively avoided seeing yourself in mirrors or other reflective surfaces?
  • Have you been persistently examining yourself or conducting ‘self-checks’ which can include: poking, pinching, or prodding?
  • Do you feel concerned that other people were scrutinising or judging your appearance?
There are also some links between BDD and eating disorders. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder or an eating disorder, then Anxiety UK strongly advises that you seek further information, guidance, and support from your GP.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Fact Sheet

This fact sheet gives a detailed overview, as well as a look at some of the evidence based approaches to treating BDD.
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Recommended resources

Overcoming Body Image Problems is a book designed to help those who experience negative body self-image, using cognitive behavioural therapy techniques. You can purchase this book from the Anxiety UK online shop here.

Overcoming Low Self-Esteem is a book that does away with the technical jargon that makes some self help books inaccessible. You can purchase this book from the Anxiety UK online shop here.