Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) refers to an anxiety disorder that is characterised by sufferers worrying, or feeling concerned, about elements of their physical appearance. They have a distorted view of how they look, that others cannot see, which leads to anxiety and it can have a major impact on daily life. Sufferers may become obsessed with using mirrors or become fixated with a part of their body. Examples of Body Dysmorphic Disorder are people who see themselves as overweight (when they are not) or a person who thinks they have a large scar (when it is actually small.)
Sufferers obsessively worry about their bodies which can lead to depression, shame and loneliness. Intense feelings of anxiety and distress around other people can also be signs. They may even get to a point where they self-harm or feel suicidal. Common areas which cause anxiety include unhappiness with facial features or a particular part of the body e.g. breasts, feeling that the body lacks symmetry (or parts are out of proportion) and feeling too fat or too skinny.
Behaviours associated with the disorder include constantly comparing themselves to others, an excessive use of mirrors and looking to solutions such as cosmetic treatment or over-exercising. Concealing the body part they are unhappy with and seeking reassurance from others are also common behavioural signs of people with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.