Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
Explains some of the possible causes of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
What causes BDD?
No one knows exactly what causes BDD. It can affect people of all genders, and commonly begins in adolescence. But research suggests that there are a number of different factors that could mean you’re more likely to experience BDD. For example:
Going through traumatic experiences such as abuse or bullying can cause you to develop a negative self-image, which can lead you to have obsessions about your appearance. This is particularly true if you experienced abuse, bullying or other forms of trauma when you were a teenager, as it’s a time when you may have felt sensitive about the way you looked or how your body was changing.
If you have low self-esteem, you may become fixated on aspects of your appearance that you want to improve. This is more likely if you attach a lot of importance to how you look, or if you feel your appearance is the most valuable thing about you.
If you worry about not fitting in, or being rejected or lonely, you may develop thought patterns that can lead to BDD.
For example, if you believe that you need to look a certain way to maintain friends or find a partner, you may develop obsessive worries about your appearance. If a relationship then breaks down or a friendship group changes, this could make your worries worse.
There have been so many times where I've looked in the mirror and just cried. Or I've thought I looked ok but 2 seconds later I'll feel that it's all still wrong.
Messages about body image that we get from films, magazines, social media and adverts can have a negative impact on our body image and self-esteem. They can give us unachievable ideas about how we should look and make us feel we're not good enough. Apps and filters that improve the way we look online can also contribute to this.
If you try to appear physically 'perfect' or you regularly compare your appearance to other people, you may be more likely to develop BDD. Or if you do activities that are very focused on your body – for example, modelling, bodybuilding or fitness – you may also be at greater risk.
My hardest trait was comparing myself to others, especially girls who I thought were flawless.