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Key Facts and Statistics

  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) affects approximately 1-2% of the population, with a significant proportion being adolescent girls.
  • Onset typically occurs in adolescence, a period often marked by heightened self-consciousness about appearance.
  • About 60% of people with BDD receive medical, surgical, or dermatological treatments for their perceived appearance flaws, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Real-Life Stories

Sarah’s Battle: The Mirror Doesn’t Reflect Reality

Sarah, a 16-year-old high school student, spent hours a day examining her face in various mirrors and lighting conditions. Convinced that her nose was disproportionately large and ugly, she isolated herself from friends and family. Despite assurances from loved ones and even medical professionals that her nose was entirely average, she sought multiple cosmetic consultations. Eventually, Sarah’s parents guided her to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which started her journey toward self-acceptance and symptom reduction.

Emily’s Struggle: The Never-Ending Cycle

Emily, a 19-year-old college freshman, became obsessed with her skin. She believed that slight imperfections were glaringly obvious. She spent hundreds of dollars on skincare products, sought various treatments, and even skipped classes to avoid people seeing her “flawed” skin. After recognizing the spiral of her thoughts and behaviors, she consulted a psychologist specializing in BDD and began medication and therapy, helping her break the cycle of obsession.

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition where an individual becomes overly preoccupied with perceived defects in their physical appearance, which are often not noticeable to others.

Causes and Risks


  • Genetic predisposition
  • Social factors like bullying or criticism
  • Cultural pressures emphasizing physical appearance

Who is at Risk?

  • Adolescents and particularly girls
  • Those with a family history of OCD or BDD
  • Individuals with low self-esteem


Emotional Symptoms

  • Constant comparison with others
  • Extreme self-consciousness
  • Feelings of worthlessness or shame based on appearance

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Excessive grooming or mirror-checking
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Seeking frequent cosmetic procedures

Diagnosis and Tests

Diagnosis involves clinical interviews and may include standardized questionnaires such as the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Questionnaire (BDDQ).

Treatment Options

Talking Therapies

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

  • CBT is considered the most effective form of psychotherapy for treating BDD.
  • It helps to identify distorted thought patterns and change problematic behaviors.


  • SSRIs, like fluoxetine, are commonly prescribed to manage obsessive thoughts.

Self-Help Strategies

  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques
  • Supportive online communities
  • Books and self-help guides designed to combat BDD

How Friends and Family Can Help

  • Avoid giving reassurances about the “flaw,” as this may perpetuate the disorder.
  • Encourage treatment and provide emotional support.

Additional Resources

  • International OCD Foundation
  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies

📣 Call to Action

If you or someone you know is struggling with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, it’s crucial to seek professional advice. Don’t let this disorder dictate the quality of your life any longer.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice.


  • The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
  • International OCD Foundation
  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
  • Various scientific publications on Body Dysmorphic Disorder

By acknowledging the serious nature of BDD and taking action, you can start the journey towards a healthier relationship with your body and yourself.

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