How to Recognize Body Dysmorphic Disorder? (13+ Warning Signs)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is an obsessive mental disorder.

A person suffering from it is most likely to find a particular odd feature in themselves or many flaws about their body while feeling obsessed and ashamed by the fault.

The detail might be minor and unnoticeable by others.

But the patient will be more obsessively occupied by this — for example, the shape of the nose, size of ears, etc.

Body Dysmorphia is a severe condition, and the patient will have to go through proper psychiatric treatment to deal with the disorder. 

The complexity of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) arises because it is usually accompanied by other mental health conditions like stress, grief, and anxiety, etc.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is often confused with Dysphoria. That could be because they both sound similar.

But Dysphoria is a state that can be long term or short term while Body

Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a condition. 

That doesn’t mean that Body Dysmorphia is incurable.

With the right diagnosis and treatment, one can overcome the patterns of the mental conditions related to Body Dysmorphia.

However, prolonged neglect of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) might result in a more multifaceted diagnosis. 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a relatively under-diagnosed illness in both men and women.

Therapists have been able to diagnose Body Dysmorphic Disorder among people of any age group. However, symptoms usually surface from the ages of 12 or 13 (roughly around puberty).

That is because, at this age, hormonal changes are taking place in the body, and during teenage children growing up are exploring their bodies.

This discovery in body changes might not feel comfortable with young people.

Keeping in mind that puberty is not the reason for BDD, but it is to note that it might surface in this age, in some cases. 

The word “dysmorphia” means “distortion.” People with Body Dysmorphia often create an alternative reality about themselves and distort their perception of themselves. 

Effects of Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) can affect anyone, any age-group, or gender.

People of any race and ethnicity, from any country and any social and economic class, can develop the mental condition.

Almost 60 percent of the patients identified are women who suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Individuals who have blood relatives with Body Dysmorphic Disorder or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are at more risk than others.

This Disorder results in various childhood traumas that surface later on. 

Aspiring models, perfectionists, people with eating disorders are also at risk of suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

It is not easy to diagnose Body Dysmorphic Disorder as the person might hide their feeling from the doctor.

In many cases, they might not go to the doctor at all. BDD also falls firmly with Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and can be confused with OCD in some cases.

If you or a loved one has the following patterns, it is advised to see a doctor immediately. 

  • You are avoiding reflective surfaces.
  • You are worried about how one looks ugly in the picture. 
  • You are obsessively grooming one’s beard and hair. 
  • You are repeatedly checking flaws.
  • You are repeatedly changing attires. 
  • You are making multiple doctor appointments.
  • You are covering flawed features with excessive makeup.
  • You are covering one’s flaw with a cloth or clothing.
  • Undergoing plastic surgeries repeatedly and ending up with dissatisfaction with how one looks.
  • Appearance and perception of others are all that comes to mind. 
  • Asking for compliments and seeking reassurance by repeatedly taking other people’s opinions of your appearance. 
  • You are picking unwanted hair.
  • You are avoiding social interactions. 
  • You are suffering from other mental disorders like depression.

Treatment for this condition

There is no quick fix to Body Dysmorphic Disorder. 

BDD needs an accurate diagnosis by a professional to start the required medication and treatment.

Because individuals suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) might be timid about going to the doctor or fear judgment by the doctor.

So, they tend to keep it to themselves, which can lead to a misdiagnosis of the condition and eventually prolonging the issue rather than solving it. 

People often prefer taking medicines that are the most effective and can lead to a speedy recovery.

For example, many try to find which is more effective between Sertraline and Citalopram.

It is not the patient’s fault. Many a time the patient doesn’t know that this obsessive behavior can be a severe condition.

Therefore, making it is vital, to be honest with one’s doctors about feelings and behavioral patterns regardless of how minor they might seem.

The usual treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder BDD is a combination of therapy and medicine.

Recent studies show that BDD is much effectively treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as CBT provides the tools and coping mechanisms to the patients. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) involves taking note of one’s condition, identifying patterns and using willpower and behavior modification to change the pattern of the individual. 

It might feel awkward, but the treatment will only work if the person with BDD cooperates. 

You can make sure that you or a loved one is trying your best to assist your doctors for your betterment by doing the following:

  1. Try not to skip any therapy sessions, even if you feel depressed and anxious.
  2. Do not start and stop the medication as per feelings; make sure a caregiver supports the individual and makes sure that they take their medicines. 
  3. Stopping medication might cause other issues like withdrawals. 
  4. By staying away from triggers and trying not being around places or things that can cause anxiety.
  5. Avoid drugs that can interfere with your medication and worsen symptoms. 
  6. Taking care of one’s diet and Nutritional help keep the mood elevated.
  7. You are asking your caregiver to connect you with a support group of people who are suffering from the same disorder. 

Feeling of sadness:

The feeling Body Dysphoria is a mood or a state of extreme sadness or uneasiness with a person’s own body. 

Dysphoria is usually used in the context of gender, meaning to be uncomfortable with one’s body or gender.

Body Dysphoria can feel like sadness as opposed to euphoria (happiness). 

In some people, the phase might pass through usually as short-term dysphoria, but in some, it can be long term.

People who have long term bouts of sadness might also develop tendencies.

It is then very important for them to see a therapist if they sense that the feeling of sorrow is never-ending. 

Although Dysphoria is the result of specific mental health conditions and it is not a condition by itself, hence it is not categorized by subtypes.

There are many different types of Dysphoria.

One is Gender dysphoria.

 Gender dysphoria is described as a mood or state in people who might not be happy with their birth-assigned genders.

Individuals with Gender Identity Disorders will show signs of Gender Dysphoria.

People undergoing transitions from one gender to another might also experience these bouts. 

Others being, Rejection sensitive dysphoria. A condition associated with attention-deficit and hyperactivity (ADHD).

The person might feel incompetent and might feel as if they have fallen short on certain expectations. 

Tardive dysphoria is a medicine resistant treatment. No one knows exactly why this happens. 

Post-intimate dysphoria Is the when the person has a sad and depressing phase after having intercourse.

They might be in happy relationships with their partners but might experience post-sex blues.

All these types are diagnosed in connection with other mental disorders and might need a proper diagnosis by a professional person. 

Difference between Body Dysmorphia and Dysphoria? 

Body dysmorphia is a mental health condition that can develop due to specific behavioral patterns when a person is obsessing over a particular flaw or multiple flaws in their body.

Whereas Dysphoria is when a person might be having bouts of sadness often resultant of other medical conditions like depression, schizophrenia, etc. 

Dysphoria is the opposite of euphoria. It can also mean sadness, or a sad phase, and can be short term or long term, depending on the accompanying disorder.

But Dysmorphia is long term and cause further harm to one’s health if not treated timely. 

Some USeful Resources

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A Treatment Manual
  • Body Image Problems and Body Dysmorphic Disorder: The Definitive Treatment and Recovery Approach (Pulling the Trigger)
  • The BDD Workbook: Overcome Body Dysmorphic Disorder and End Body Image Obsessions (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
  • Subliminal Body Dysmorphic Disorder BDD Aid
  • The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder


Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a severe mental health condition. Obsessive behavior and patterns in finding flaws with oneself is a significant symptom of this disorder.

People Suffering from BDD might develop severe cases of depression and even suicidal tendencies. 

People suffering from Dysmorphic Disorder might spend days or months over obsessing about their looks or a self-found flaw in themselves.

They might look at the mirror too much or start to avoid mirrors altogether.

They might not ever be satisfied by the way their body looks even after plastic surgeries. 

It is advised that if you or a loved are suffering from BDD or prolonged Dysphoria to call your nearest doctor for an appointment. 

Frequently asked Questions

Q1. Who does Body Dysmorphic Disorder affect?

Stressful experiences, such as childhood bullying and teasing, neglect, or abuse by parents and family members. 


other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or bipolar disorder,

might also

result in developing BDD. People in abusive relationships; people

with parents

who compare them with others; people who obsess over media

celebrities and then

compare their bodies to stars.

Q2. How do you fix Body Dysmorphia?

If you or a loved one does not have access to a psychologist or a medical helper to help you with your problem, it is then advised to contact your general physician.

Once you explain your feelings to them in detail, they will put you in contact with the concerned psychologist or therapist as per need.

Q3. What does body dysphoria feel like?

A person with a body or gender dysphoria might be unfortunate with their existence or body as a whole.

Individuals with Dysphoria are usually uneasy with things around them; they are worn out all the time and might be extremely dissatisfied with their existence.

Many mental disorders can cause a dysphoric mood, like bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and OCD

Q4. The best treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Antidepressants like Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are usually prescribed to inhibit thinking behaviors and help relieve the person of thinking and anxiety. 

All symptoms might require different medications; in some cases, the doctor might advise inpatient treatment at the hospital.


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