Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can't stop thinking about a flaw in your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don't want to be seen by anyone. The causes of BDD are unclear, but certain biological and environmental factors may contribute to its development, including genetic predisposition, neurobiological factors such as malfunctioning of serotonin in the brain, personality traits, and life experiences. People with BDD suffer from obsessions about their appearance that can last for hours or up to an entire day. Hard to resist or control, these obsessions make it difficult for people with BDD to focus on anything but their imperfections. This can lead to low self-esteem, avoidance of social situations, and problems at work or school.
BDD is relatively common – it affects about one in 100 people.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
Katharine A. Phillips, M.D., is internationally renowned for her clinical expertise and her pioneering medical research on body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).