What Causes Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
The cause of BDD is unclear, but it may be genetic or caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.
What Are The Symptoms?
People with BDD are excessively worried about a part of their body which they perceive to have a defect. They continue to believe this despite reassurances about their appearance.
Any area of the body may be involved in BDD, but the face is the most common.
A Person With BDD May:
* Wear excessive make-up or heavy clothing to hide their perceived defect.
* Repeatedly look in the mirror and seek reassurance about their appearance.
* Frequently touch or measure the perceived defect.
* Repeatedly pick at their skin or pluck their hair and eyebrows.
* Feel anxious when around other people.
* Seek medical treatment for the perceived defect.
* Diet and exercise excessively.
* People with BDD may not be able to hold down a job and sometimes avoid socialising.
* They can also find it difficult to have relationships.
BDD is believed to affect at least one per cent of the UK population. It's more common in people with a history of depression and/or social phobia. It often occurs with obsessive-compulsive disorder or generalised anxiety disorder. It may also exist alongside an eating disorder.
It usually starts in adolescence when people are most sensitive about their appearance.
What's The Treatment?
Treatment may include antidepressant medication, cognitive behavioural therapy or a combination of both. Antipsychotic medication is sometimes used.
It's difficult to prevent BDD from developing since its cause remains unclear.
Books About Body Dysmorphic Disorder
The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Katharine A. Phillips. An authoritative and comprehensive guide to this often debilitating illness.
The Butterfly Girl, Racheal Baughan. Account of a girl suffering from BDD.
The Feeling Good Handbook, David D. Burns. A guide to commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs and anxiety disorders.
Advice And Support
The BDD Foundation
The BDD Foundation aims to increase awareness and understanding of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
Mind is a mental health charity working in England and Wales. The MindinfoLine offers confidential help on a range of mental health issues.
Tel: 0845 766 0163
Anxiety UK offers advice and support as well as access to therapies for sufferers of all anxiety disorders and phobias.
Tel: 08444 775 774