What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) ‘Body Dysmorphia’?

Today we’re diving into the meaning of Body Dysmorphic Disorder including symptoms, signs, side effects, statistics and treatment to help you or a loved one get the help needed…


What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

How is BDD different from the average body insecurities?

Most of us will have felt self-conscious or unhappy about our looks at some point, if not regularly. This common experience can lead people to underestimate Body Dysmorphic Disorder and the severity of the illness.

BDD is a type of mental illness relating to body image which is much more than feeling body insecure like many of us will admit we do. It is an obsession with a perceived “defect” in appearance. Whether it be imagined or only a slight flaw, the patient becomes preoccupied with the “defect.” This could be:

  • a facial feature
  • a particular body part
  • a worry about symmetry or proportion

While it might seem like nothing to someone else, if you have BDD, the defect is almost all you can think about and has a big impact on your day-to-day life.

One thing that separates your average bodily concern from those suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder is the extent to which the supposed deformity affects their lives.



Why do people suffer from BDD?

It isn’t always clear why people develop BDD. Research suggests that there is a genetic element – it can run in families – but this isn’t the whole story. Mental illnesses, striving for perfection, fear, teasing, bullying and other abuse in childhood can also be a factor.


How can we help you beat BDD?

If you have BDD you are probably convinced that the only way to improve your self-esteem is to improve the way you look. At The Recover Clinic, we work with you to:

  • manage disordered thoughts and behaviour
  • gain a sense of self-empowerment
  • build self-esteem and body confidence on these foundations


Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Treatment

Treatment may involve counselling, group therapy or a referral to an inpatient clinic. Our programs give you a chance to live free from the pain of BDD and to embrace your life with peace and happiness once again.


What are the symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

If you have BDD, you may:

  • constantly compare your looks to other people’s
  • spend several hours a day thinking about the defect
  • check the part you don’t like over and over again in mirrors
  • avoid mirrors altogether
  • try to hide the problem because you’re worried friends and family will think you’re vain or self-obsessed
  • over-exercise and go on extreme diets
  • find elaborate ways to cover up the defect
  • seek medical treatment or even cosmetic surgery for the defect

These and other symptoms develop as a way of coping with the anxiety you feel about your appearance.



Do I have Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

If you think you might have BDD, ask yourself whether you:

  • spend a lot of time worrying about the way you look and want to think about it less?
  • want to hide or change certain parts of your body or face even though others can’t see anything wrong?
  • find it hard to work or spend time with friends because of your worries about your looks?

If you answer yes to these questions you may well have BDD. Please get in touch to find out how we could help you.


What are the side effects of Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

If BDD isn’t treated, it can take over your life to the point where you find it hard to work, go out with friends, or enjoy your home life. It can lead to:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • social withdrawal
  • social isolation
  • self-harm
  • in extreme cases, BDD can even lead to suicide


Statistics About BDD
  • Around one in every 100 people in the UK may have BDD [Source]
  • Roughly the same number of men and women suffer from BDD [Source]
  • BDD is more common in people who suffer from depression or other mental health illnesses – including eating disorders [Source]


Don’t Suffer In Silence

Whatever the level of support you are looking for, we can help. Call us today on 0845 603 6530 and speak to a member of our Body Dysmorphia counselling team or fill in our short contact form. For daily support, you might also like to follow us on Instagram.


For More Information

Please refer to our other blog posts relating to Body Dysmorphic Disorder:


Have you struggled with Body Dysmorphic Disorder or an eating disorder?

We’d love to hear from you! Complete our ‘Share Your Story’ form at the bottom of this page to write for our blog and help others who are experiencing similar thoughts, feelings and behaviour.


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Posted in , by The Recover Clinic

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