Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Affecting Men and Women of all Ages

 8th Feb 2016

You may have heard of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) as Body Dysmorphia or even Dysmorphic Syndrome, but did you know it can affect up to 2.4% of the population?

As with all mental health conditions it is important to understand the different aspects of BDD. Being able to detect different symptoms and warning signs of developing the condition can make it easier to know whether or not a friend or family member is being affected.

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

BDD can appear in various different forms depending on both the individual and their situation.

The disorder centres on a person having exaggerated and obsessive feelings of dissatisfaction with their physical appearance to the point where they take extreme measures to either hide the issue or resolve the problem.

BDD affects both men and women equally in a variety of ways depending on a range of different environmental factors, specific life events and their personality.

Examples of BDD

One particular form is Muscle Dysmorphia in which people (particularly males) have preconceived opinions of their body being excessively small. Those with muscle dysmorphia will often analysis their body on a regular basis for constant reassurance of having adequate proportions.

Additionally, muscle dysmorphia may cause individuals to partake in certain exercise and diet routines to increase the size of their muscles in order to feel secure and content in their own body and, in extreme cases, may even resort to using steroids and other drugs.

Body dysmorphia is not limited to simply the body being excessively large or small, however, as it can also be linked to notions of certain body parts being abnormal in one way or another.

For instance, a person may consider parts of their face to be disproportional, causing them to be anxious in social situations and even paranoid.

Much like other mental disorders, BDD can be a causal factor in the development of other illnesses such as clinical depression and anxiety disorder. As the person’s discontent with their image causes them to feel sad and insecure, they will often avoid engaging in social situations as regularly as others.


There are numerous different reasons why a person may develop this condition. Environmental factors such as bullying are a strong influencer on a person’s confidence and the insecurity created from such experiences can have the potential cause BDD.

Additionally, those with a history of other conditions are at higher risk of body dysmorphia as it often found alongside depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder and other conditions.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be extremely challenging to live with and can even become a repressive force in one’s life, causing people to isolate themselves due to their insecurity complex.

If someone you know shows signs of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, it is important to speak with them and, if necessary, seek professional advice in order to help rationalise their thoughts and live a happier life.

Encompass Dorset provide a wide range of services designed to help people living with enduring mental health illnesses and learning difficulties.

Find out how can help you or a loved one, by clicking here.

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