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.
Over 350,000 Canadians are estimated to suffer from BDD. Specific populations: students (2 percent to 13.1 percent); clients of cosmetic surgery clinics (6 percent to 20 percent). Rates of suicidal ideation (57.8 percent) and suicide attempts (2.6 percent).
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).