Body Dysmorphic Disorder: What to Do When the Mirror Lies

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: What to Do When the Mirror Lies

Body Dysmorphic Disorder occurs when poor self-esteem or body image leads patients to an obsession with their own body image.

Persistant, intrusive thoughts and a preoccupation with one’s bodily appearance, including even the slightest perceived defects, can be crippling to those who suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Even flaws that the general public do not perceive in those who suffer this disorder are enough to be thought of by the patient as grotesque or horrifying. This can lead to emotional distress and can cause major interruptions in the day to day life of people who suffer from BDD.

BDD is a fairly uncommon disorder, affecting 2.5% of men and 2.2% of women, usually setting in around the pre-teen years when people are most exposed to others judging their body. Eating disorders may also develop.

Warning signs of BDD are spending excessive amounts of time in front of the mirror, seeking reassurance about flaws in body size and shape, general difficulties at work and home due to their obsession, low self-esteem and confidence, anxiety and depression, and excessive consultations with aesthetic medicine practitioners.

There is hope, however. BDD is manageable through means such as cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, and dialectical behavioral therapy. Self-care and positivity are also crucial to overcoming this terrible disorder.

Key Points:

  • 1Body Dysmorphic Disorder affects those who spend hours everyday obsessing over an area of their body that they feel is distorted.
  • 2BDD affects mostly teenagers and affects both men and women. It affects 2.5% of men and 2.2% of women.
  • 3To cope with BDD, devote time to a hobby such as reading a book, listening to music, or drinking a hot beverage.


Even though BDD affects a rather small amount of the general population, it can be seen with eating disorders.
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