Symptoms & Related Disorders

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)


 

Signs and Symptoms of BDD

People with BDD suffer from obsessions about their appearance that can last for hours or up to an entire day. BDD obsessions may be focused on musculature (i.e. fixation on muscle mass or definition). Hard to resist or control, these obsessions make it difficult for people with BDD to focus on anything but their imperfections. This can lead to low self-esteem, avoidance of social situations, and problems at work or school.

BDD sufferers may perform some type of compulsive or repetitive behavior to try to hide or improve their flaws although these behaviors usually give only temporary relief.

Examples are listed below:

  • camouflaging (with body position, clothing, makeup, hair, hats, etc.)
  • comparing body part to others' appearance
  • seeking surgery
  • checking in a mirror 
  • avoiding mirrors
  • skin picking
  • excessive grooming
  • excessive exercise
  • changing clothes excessively

BDD and Other Mental Health Disorders

People with BDD commonly also suffer from anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder, as well as other disorders such as depression, eating disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

BDD can also be misdiagnosed as one of these disorders because they share similar symptoms. The intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors exhibited in BDD are similar to the obsessions and compulsions of OCD. BDD is distinguished from OCD when the preoccupations or repetitive behaviors focus specifically on appearance. Avoiding social situations in BDD may be due to shame or embarrassment of one’s physical appearance and is similar to the behavior of some people with social anxiety disorder.

Learn more about ways to treat BDD

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