Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition which involves anxiety and distress linked to body image. A person with BDD spends a lot of time worrying excessively about perceived flaws in their physical appearance. This includes worries about a specific area of the body being too big or too small, out of proportion or lacking symmetry. These perceived flaws however, cannot be seen by others or only appear very slight.

People of any age can have BDD, but it is most common in teenagers and young adults. It affects both men and women.

Having BDD does not mean you are vain or self-obsessed. It can be very upsetting and have a big impact on your life.

Symptoms of BDD

You might have BDD if you:

  • worry obsessively about a specific area of your body (the face is most common but BDD can be about any area of the body)
  • spend a lot of time comparing your appearance to others
  • check your appearance in mirrors a lot or avoid mirrors altogether
  • make a lot of effort to conceal perceived flaws (for example, by spending a long time combing your hair, applying make-up, excessively using the gym, choosing clothes and changing posture)
  • pick at your skin to make it "smooth"
  • concern yourself with careful choice of lighting
  • frequently research cosmetic procedures

BDD can seriously affect your daily life, including your work, social life and relationships. BDD can also lead to depression, self-harm and even thoughts of suicide.