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.
People with BDD see themselves differently to how others see them. Although everyone's experience of BDD is unique, there are some common signs:
If you have BDD, you experience intrusive, negative thoughts about one specific area of your body, or several areas of your body, which you think are:
These thoughts cause you significant anxiety, and you will often spend several hours a day thinking about the area or areas of concern.
BDD can affect any area of the body, but common areas of anxiety include your skin, hair, nose, chin, lips or genitals.
"I've struggled with BDD for 13 years. It changes. Sometimes it is something little, like my nose, that is really bothering me that day. Sometimes it is every centimetre of my body that just feels wrong."
If you have BDD, at some point during the course of your obsessions you develop compulsive behaviours and routines to deal with the anxiety you feel about your appearance.
You may spend hours each day carrying out these behaviours to try to reduce your anxiety. The behaviours may briefly lessen your worries, or they may make you feel worse.
Common compulsive behaviours include:
This information was published in November 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
Need more support with this issue? Our helplines are here for you.
Need the references and evidence sheet for this page? Contact our publishing team.
Want to reproduce content from this page? See our page on permissions and licensing.