Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
Definition: Body dysmorphic disorder, also known as body dysmorphia or BDD, is a mental health condition that impacts how an individual sees and feels about their body, appearance, and self.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition that can severely impact an individual’s view of themselves. It can cause an individual to unfairly have a very negative perception of their physical appearance and lead to a fixation on their perceived flaws and attempts to hide or fix these flaws.
Anyone can be impacted by body dysmorphic disorder. People from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, abilities, and more can and do struggle with this illness.
People with body dysmorphia will experience symptoms in different ways and on varying levels of severity. This doesn’t make anyone’s journey anymore or less valid, it’s just important to remember that your own journey is unique to you.
- Obsession or preoccupation with a perceived flaw or flaws
- Flaws may be any part of one’s body, including face, skin, body, hair, etc.
- Social withdrawal
- Constant comparison of oneself to others
- Engaging in behaviors in an attempt to hide or fix one’s perceived flaw(s)
- Constantly checking oneself in mirrors or photos at perceived flaws or on the other hand, avoiding mirrors and photos altogether
- Feeling anxious or panicked that others are judging or staring at them
People may experience some or all of the above symptoms. In some individuals, there may be additional symptoms or conditions including anxiety, depression, OCD, and others.
As with any health condition, treatment can vary from person to person. What’s helpful for one may not be helpful for another, however, there are some treatments available that can and do help those struggling with depression. Treatments include:
- Medication: There is a range of medications, including antidepressants, that may be useful in better-managing body dysmorphic disorder symptoms.
- Psychotherapy: Therapy can vary for each individual, however, certain therapies have shown to be effective for those with body dysmorphic disorder, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and family or group therapy.
It’s best to talk to your health team when looking at treatment options. They can recommend and guide you through what could be the best fit for you and your well-being.
I have a loved one experiencing body dysmorphic disorder, how can I help?
If you have a loved one who is struggling, having an open conversation about how you can best support them can mean the world. For example, asking how you can best support them on their journey. You could offer to send them a message to let them know you’re thinking of them, listen without passing judgment, etc. Simply being a friend can often be the best thing to do. Maybe even working on a well-being plan with your loved one that may be useful to both of you.
Understanding this condition is also immensely helpful. It can help you and your loved one to better work with what they’re going through. It’s equally important to also remember to take time out for yourself for self-care.
It’s important for those struggling to know that body dysmorphic disorder is something you can fight. You can find ways to cope with it and heal from it. There is always hope and people who care about you who will support you on your journey.
Voices of Hope wants you to know that your life has value and you deserve the help, care, and support you need. You can fight body dysmorphic disorder and heal from it and live the life you want and deserve. We understand how difficult mental illnesses can be, but you are worthy, and you are strong. You can get through this. Reach out and keep fighting. You are not alone in your fight. We believe in you. And remember that there is ALWAYS hope.
Resources and Links:
- Mayo Clinic - Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Mental Health Foundation - Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- WebMD - Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Butterfly Foundation - Body Dysmorphia Reflected
- Cleveland Clinic - Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- The Body Love Society
- The Mighty - Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Mind UK - Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Self-Care
- International OCD Foundation - About BDD
Voices of Hope does not offer direct mental health services and our team is not comprised of trained mental health professionals. If you require assistance, we recommend visiting our resources page for helpful information.
If you are in immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, or need advice for someone in your life that is at risk of immediate harm to themselves, please contact your local emergency services.