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 unnoticeable to others.
People of any age can have BDD, but it’s most common in teenagers and young adults. It affects both men and women. Having BDD does not mean you’re vain or self-obsessed. It can be very upsetting and have a big impact on your life.
Symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
You might have BDD if you:
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.
You should see a GP if you think you might have BDD.
They’ll probably ask a few questions about your symptoms and how they affect your life.
They may also ask if you’ve had any thoughts about harming yourself.
You may be treated by the GP, or they may refer you to a mental health specialist for further assessment and treatment.
It can be very difficult to seek help for BDD, but it’s important to remember that you have nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about.
Getting help is important because your symptoms probably will not go away without treatment and may get worse.
You can also refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT) without a referral from a GP.
The symptoms of BDD can get better with treatment. If your symptoms are relatively mild, you should be referred for a type of talking therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which you have either on your own or in a group.
If you have moderate symptoms, you should be offered either CBT or a type of antidepressant medicine called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
If your symptoms are more severe, or other treatments do not work, you should be offered CBT together with an SSRI.