Body dysmorphic disorder
An abnormal and obsessive preoccupation with appearance
- By: Latha Nishkala Bonthala, Ruth Taylor
It is perhaps inevitable that people will want to improve their appearance. It is also common for people to wish that they looked different—for example, that they were taller. There is a fundamental difference, however, between the common wish to change some aspect of one’s bodily appearance, and having a fixed preoccupation or delusional belief that your appearance is abnormal. The latter is body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
This is a body image disorder where there is increased awareness of a body part, shape, or size and a preoccupation that it is deformed or defective. Objectively, appearance may be normal, or a physical defect may be present but the perception of it, and preoccupation about it, causes clinically significant distress.1
The disorder can have a huge impact on a person’s life, and it can be very time consuming. Patients will spend hours of every day checking their appearance in a mirror.