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Body dysmorphic disorder

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By Halina Boniszewskateacher and writer

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental health problem related to body image. People with BDD spend an excessive amount of time thinking about one or more imagined or minor defects in their appearance

Sad girl

What is body dysmorphic disorder?

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental health problem related to body image. People with BDD spend an excessive amount of time thinking about one or more imagined or minor defects in their appearance. Their preoccupation causes them great distress and disrupts their everyday life. There is a big disparity between what sufferers believe they look like and how they appear to other people. BDD is often missed by doctors. The reason for this is that it often occurs with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or generalised anxiety disorder. It may also exist alongside an eating disorder or social phobia. It is regarded as a ‘hidden disorder’ because many sufferers are too ashamed to reveal their problem.

What causes BDD?

The cause of BDD is unclear, but it may be genetic or caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Low self-esteem and the way some children judge themselves almost exclusively by their appearance can also cause BDD to develop.

How common is BDD?

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