Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) involves a preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance that are not observable to others, or that only appear to be slight and minor flaws to others. Due to these perceived defects the individual may perform repetitive behaviour (e.g., mirror checking, excessive grooming, skin picking, reassurance seeking) or mental acts (e.g., comparing his or her appearance with that of others).
Individuals diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder experience significant emotional distress and/or impairment in their ability to engage socially or occupationally or in any other important area of life. Their preoccupation with a perceived defect or flaw in their appearance is not solely focussed on body fat or weight (in which case the individual may be experiencing an Eating Disorder).
Body Dysmorphic Disorder can sometimes be expressed as a preoccupation with the idea that a person’s body build is too small or insufficiently muscular (and these concerns can occur at the same time as a focus on other areas of their body). Because BDD involves a perception of a defect or flaw (rather than an actual or significant defect) individuals diagnosed with this condition may have varying degrees of insight or understanding of their perception. Some people may understand or have a ‘gut feeling’ that their perceptions of the defect isn’t really accurate or that they are overestimating its severity, but it still ‘feels’ true. While other people who experience BDD are absolutely convinced the defect is real and serious.
Disclaimer: The information covered on this website is for educational purposes only. Other conditions including Eating Disorders can share symptoms in common with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, so it’s important to speak with your GP or a psychologist about your concerns to clarify what you’re experiencing and to receive appropriate treatment. A diagnosis of any psychiatric or medical condition must only be made by a medical or mental health specialist. Diagnosing a psychiatric concern is a complex process that involves formal training, do not ‘diagnose’ yourself.
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