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Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a disabling condition that until recently has been largely ignored. They may be concerned that their nose is too big, cheeks misshapen, eyelids too puffy, breasts too small, etc. Any blemish such as acne, freckles or other perceived imperfection becomes a focal point, constantly drawing their attention and thoughts.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Treatment

Common BDD Focal Points

It has been estimated that 1 to 2 percent of the general population has BDD, which is nearly 5 million people in the United States alone. BDD is aptly described as the disease of “imagined ugliness.” Most of us pay attention to our appearance but BDD sufferers worry excessively and unreasonably about some aspects of their appearance. Though this preoccupation can include any part of the body, the areas of the face and head are most commonly areas of concern.

Others include:

  • Teeth
  • Wrinkles
  • Too little hair on head
  • Size and/or shape of genitalia
  • Overall size, shape and/or symmetry of the face or another body part

Common BDD Symptoms

  • Repetitive checking of a minor or imagined flaw in mirrors
  • Multiple medical procedures in an effort to eradicate a minor or imagined flaw
  • Wearing certain clothes to camouflage a minor or imagined defect
  • Avoidance of having picture taken
  • Repetitive grooming activities such as shaving, combing hair, etc.
  • Repetitive checking, touching and/or measuring of a minor or imagined defect
  • Wearing excessive make-up to camouflage a minor or imagined flaw
  • Multiple medical visits, especially to dermatologists

In reality, these flaws may be non-existent or minimal but you cannot reassure a BDD victim of this. The internalized perception prompts patients to ritualize their behaviors by constantly checking their perceived flaw in mirrors and reflective surfaces. BDD causes an individual’s perception to become distorted, and it makes those who have it feel ugly. It is important to help those who suffer from BDD to accept a new idea of what might help them overcome this illness.

Other Common Anxiety Disorders

It is not uncommon for an individual to suffer from multiple anxiety disorders. Treating co-occurring conditions simultaneously is important in finding balance and healing from anxiety.

The Gateway Institute is here to support you in getting the help that you need.