Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

What is it?

closeup of young woman

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), also been nicknamed ‘Imagined Ugliness Syndrome’ caused people to experience an irrational preoccupation with a perceived body defect, either present in themselves or in others; the latter being dysmorphophobia by proxy.

BDD can leave people feeling that the perceived flaws in their appearance warrant extreme measures to either hide or fix them. Those who experience BDD cannot accept that their fears of their perceived body defect are out of all proportion, even when they receive reassurance from those around them. This can lead some people to 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.

How we can help

By becoming a member of Anxiety UK – for just £40 per year (see all our membership) you enjoy a range of support services and resources, including:

  • Access to reduced cost therapies
  • One year’s free subscription to Headspace, more details here
  • Subscription to Anxious Times magazine (worth £12 annually)
  • Access to our Member’s area and other free online resources
  • Access to our exclusive member’s only online message boards
  • Free copy of Understanding Anxiety booklet (worth £3.99)
  • 25% discount on purchases of Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules made via This discount is exclusively for Anxiety UK members.
  • 10% off a Listening Books membership (normally between £20 and £45 per year).
  • Total value of more than £90 annually!

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.
Download Free

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.