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Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)

Explains what body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is, the symptoms and possible causes of BDD and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and advice for friends and family.

What can I do to help myself?

Treatment of BDD often includes a combination of strategies, including self-help. Below are some ideas you could try to help you manage your BDD:

Many people find self-help materials, such as books or computer programs, useful in managing their BDD. Self-help materials are often based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which have been shown to be particularly effective in treating BDD. Making small steps to accept but challenge your worries can reduce your compulsive behaviours.

You may decide to use self-help materials alongside professional help, or you may use them to develop your own coping strategies. BDD Foundation, OCD-UK and OCD Action have self-help resources for BDD on their websites.

Several CBT programmes are available for free via computer or via prescription from your GP. See the NHS website for more information on these.

"Yoga and Pilates, a food diary, To Do lists, music and books – it's largely about having a routine that enables looking forward and steps of progress but also allows time to just be."

Taking time to look after yourself, such as eating well and doing something you enjoy, can help to support your recovery and improve your quality of life. Take a look at our information on managing anxiety and improving your wellbeing for further guidance.

"Dyeing my hair bright colours helps. It distracts me a little from everything else."

You might find it beneficial to speak with others who have BDD and understand what you are going through.

Support groups and peer support offer an opportunity to meet other people who also have BDD. Hearing about how other people have coped with similar feelings and experiences can be helpful and make you feel less isolated. You can find details of support groups for BDD on the following websites:

Alternatively, you can contact Mind's Infoline or a local Mind to see what support there is in your area.

You can also access peer support online. Communities like Mind's Side by Side can be a good way of getting support at times when you don't feel like seeing people face-to-face or if there aren't any groups nearby.

This information was published in November 2018.

This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published. 

References and bibliography available on request.

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