What Does Body Dysmorphia Disorder mean?

With the present-day society’s beauty standard, more people are likely to develop Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), or Body Dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often minor or unnoticeable to others.

This perceived flaw gives rise to anxiety levels and obsessive behaviors such as repeatedly checking the mirror, seeking reassurance or validation from others. The person with BDD eventually becomes too obsessed with the defect that their social, work, home functioning suffers.

People of any age can have BDD, but it’s most common in teenagers and young adults. It affects both men and women. Can be prevented by identifying it quickly and going through the treatment process

 BBD share similar symptoms with an eating disorder as it has so much to do with Body Image. However, a person with an eating disorder worries about weight and the shape of the whole body. But, a person with BDD is concerned about a specific body part. Which could include more of the following body parts:

  • Skin: These include wrinkles, scars, acne, and blemishes.
  • Hair: This might include head or body hair or absence of hair.
  • Facial features: Very often this involves the nose, but it also might involve the shape and size of any feature.
  • Body weight: Sufferers may obsess about their weight or muscle tone.

Other areas of concern include the size of the genitals(penis/vaginal), breasts, thighs, buttocks, and the presence of certain body odors.



Symptoms of BDD

  • Being extremely preoccupied with a perceived flaw in appearance that to others can’t be seen or appears minor.
  • The strong belief that you have a defect in your appearance that makes you ugly or deformed
  • The belief that others take special notice of your appearance negatively or mock you.
  • Engaging in behaviors aimed at fixing or hiding the perceived flaw that is difficult to resist or control. such as frequently checking the mirror, grooming, or skin picking.
  • Attempting to hide perceived flaws with styling, makeup, or clothes.
  • Constantly comparing your appearance with others.
  • Frequently seeking reassurance about your appearance from others.
  • Perfectionist tendencies (OCD).
  • Seeking cosmetic procedures with little satisfaction
  • Avoiding social situations.


Causes of BDD

The exact cause of BDD is not known. However, one theory suggests the disorder involves a problem with the size or functioning of certain brain. other known factors are;

  • Genetics – you may be more likely to develop BDD if you have a relative with BDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or depression.
  • Experience of traumatic events or emotional conflict during childhood.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Parents or others who were critical of a person’s appearance.

    Complications from BDD

Complications that may be caused by or associated with body dysmorphic disorder include:

  • Depression.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance misuse
  • Health problems from behaviors such as skin picking
  • Physical pain or risk of disfigurement due to repeated surgical interventions
  • Avoidance Behavior


  • Moderate symptom of BDD can be treated with CBT or a type of antidepressant medicine called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    One of the most critical components of cognitive behavioral therapy for BDD is Exposure therapy. Exposure therapy involves exposing an individual to their biggest fears. For example, someone with BDD who thinks his or her face is hideous might try leaving the house without wearing makeup. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to work with clients to replace the stigmatizing language with more factual language. So, these individuals can comment on the shape of their face based on fact, instead of judgment. The more often his patients practice this process, the less anxious they become.
  • Self Help could include; Mindfulness, Breathing Exercises, and Support groups.