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Body Dysmorphic Disorder

What is body dysmorphic disorder?

Body dysmorphic disorder is an anxiety disorder that causes the person to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance. This could be focused on any aspect of their face or body. Having BDD does not mean that the person is vain or self obsessed.

Symptoms of BDD include:

  • Constantly comparing one’s looks to other people’s
  • Spending a lot of time in front of the mirror or at other times avoiding mirrors altogether
  • Spending a lot of time concealing what is seen to be a defect
  • Becoming distressed by a particular area of their body (or commonly their face)
  • Feeling anxious when around other people and avoiding social situations
  • Being overly worried about asking for help out of fear that they will be seen to be vain or self obsessed
  • Seeking medical treatment for the perceived defect such as cosmetic surgery
  • Excessive diet and exercise

Although BDD is not the same as OCD, there are some similarities for instance in the repetition of compulsive behaviours. BDD can also lead to depression, self harm and suicidal thoughts.

Treatment for BDD

Different therapeutic approaches may be utilised in the treatment of BDD such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Analytic Therapy and most commonly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

In some instances, if BDD symptoms are particularly severe a medication review by a Consultant Psychiatrist might be helpful.

All the psychologists at The Chelsea Psychology Clinic are experienced in working with BDD.