BDD Literature

The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Katharine A. Phillips, M.D.
Oxford University Press

The Broken MirrorJane is an attractive woman in her mid-thirties, tall, thin, and stately. She believes she is breathtakingly ugly. Tormented by what she sees as her huge nose, crooked lip, big jaw, fat buttocks, and tiny breasts, she has not left her house in six years. Though she lives in the same house as her mother, she once went two years without seeing her. When relatives come over, she avoids them, staying up on the third floor of the house, even on Thanksgiving. The one time she left the house--forced to see a doctor--she covered her face with bandages. Eventually, she attempted suicide. "I can't imagine any suffering greater than this. If I had a choice, I'd rather be blind or have my arms cut off. I'd be happy to have cancer." Jane has body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD.

In The Broken Mirror, Dr. Katharine Phillips draws on years of clinical practice and detailed interviews with over 200 patients to bring readers the first book on this debilitating disease, in which sufferers are obsessed by perceived flaws in their appearance. Phillips describes severe cases, such as Jane's, but also a multitude of milder cases, such as Carl, a successful lawyer who uses his work to distract him from his supposedly thinning hair, yet says that he thinks about it constantly. Many sufferers are able to function very well in society, but remain secretly obsessed by their "hideous acne" or "horrible nose," sneaking constant peeks at a pocket mirror, or spend hours at a time redoing makeup.

According to Phillips' research, BDD afflicts approximately 2% of the population, or nearly 5 million people. It is not an uncommon disorder, simply a hidden one, since sufferers are often embarrassed to tell even their closest friends about their concerns: one woman, after fifty years of marriage, still felt too uncomfortable to reveal her preoccupation to her husband.

Besides the fascinating story of the disease itself, The Broken Mirror is also a literally lifesaving handbook for sufferers, their families, and their doctors. Left untreated, the torment of BDD can lead to psychiatric hospitalization and sometimes suicide. With treatment, many sufferers are able to lead normal lives.

Phillips provides a quick self-assessment questionnaire, helping readers distinguish between normal concern with appearance and the obsession of BDD to determine whether they or someone they know have BDD. She includes warning signs for dermatologists and plastic surgeons, since they are the medical professionals who see BDD sufferers most often as they continually seek to \"fix\" their looks.

Other chapters outline effective treatments for BDD using drugs and cognitive-behavioral therapy, answering often-asked questions about treatments. Finally, Phillips includes a chapter aimed at the friends and families of BDD sufferers. Profoundly affected by the disease themselves, since sufferers often refuse to attend weddings and other family events, or constantly ask loved ones for reassurance about their looks, those who care about someone with BDD will find both helpful advice and reassurance in this indispensable book.

The Broken Mirror - the first book on this under-recognized disorder - is essential reading for the psychiatrists, mental health professionals, and other physicians who see these often undiagnosed patients; for the friends and family concerned and upset by a loved one who won't believe their reassurances; and for the millions who suffer from BDD in silence and secrecy. All material taken from

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A Treatment Manual

David Veale
Fugen Neziroglu

ImageThis book is a unique treatment manual which looks at the assessment of BDD, offering a treatment model in the form of CBT and pharmacotherapy.

Summarises the current knowledge and theoretical perspectives about BDD, covers the practical aspects of assessment, engagement, and therapy, and uses a number of practical resources, including client handouts

Feeling Good About the Way You Look: A Program for Overcoming Body Image Problems

Sabine Wilhelm, Ph. D.
Guilford Publications

Feeling Good About The Way You LookIn a society where a blemish or "bad hair" can ruin an otherwise perfect day, and airbrushed abs dominate the magazine rack, many people feel ashamed of their bodies. Whether they've stopped socializing because of an imagined defect or spent thousands on skin care, hair growth products, or plastic surgery, Feeling Good about the Way You Look helps men and women with exaggerated concerns about their appearance break free from the mirror and get their lives back on track.

Self-assessment tools help readers understand their problems and decide whether they should be evaluated for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a severely distressing level of dissatisfaction with one's body. Step-by-step guidelines teach them to overcome discouraging thoughts, curtail obsessive appearance rituals, and see themselves realistically. With a chapter for friends and family members who suspect a loved one may be struggling with body image issues, this is the perfect starting point for those who want to help themselves or someone they care about make peace with their looks. All material taken from

The BDD Workbook: Overcome Body Dysmorphic Disorder and End Body Image Obsessions

James Claiborn, Ph.D. & Cherry Pedrick, R.N.
New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

The BDD WorkbookChecking and rechecking one's appearance in the mirror may be more than mere vanity - it could be a sign of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. This condition can lead to unnecessary plastic surgery, serious eating disorders, steroid abuse, even suicide. The BDD Workbook offers a proven intervention plan and personal stories, exercises, charts, and worksheets to help readers recognize distorted self-perception and develop a balanced self-image. All material taken from

The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis Of Male Body Obsession

Harrison G. Pope, M.D.,
Katharine A. Phillips, M.D., and Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D.
Free Press

The Adonis ComplexThe impossible ideal of the Body Beautiful induces feelings of inadequacy not only among women and girls, claim the authors of this book, but, increasingly, among men and boys. Drawing upon their own clinical work, new studies and cultural observations, the authors - Pope and Olivardia teach at Harvard medical school, and Phillips at Brown University - make a compelling argument that growing numbers of males are exhibiting compulsive behaviors, chronic depressions and eating disorders, and are engaging in the use of dangerous steroids and "supplements." Although they ignore the nearly century-old popularity of Charles Atlas-like muscle-building "courses," the authors use a broad range of examples--including comparisons of the physiques of bodybuilders in the 1960s and the 1990s, a look at the evolution of the G.I. Joe doll's bulk and an examination of the nearly unobtainable body ideal that prevails among Chippendale dancers and Calvin Klein models--to make the convincing case that many men resort to dire actions to assuage their feelings of inadequacy. They bolster their claim with numerous interviews with men and a survey of the existing medical and psychological literature, and include tests by which readers can ascertain if they have an eating disorder or suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder. While some readers might take exception to the authors' assertion about the prevalence of the "Adonis complex," their book offers a provocative look at what has been, until now, a largely unexplored subject. Agent, Todd Schuster. (June) All material taken from

Getting Control Overcoming Your Obsessions and Compulsions

Lee Baer, Ph.D.

Getting ControlAn internationally known expert and Harvard Medical School professor offers an up-to-date guide for treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Six million Americans suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and they know firsthand the often devastating effects it has on their lives. Some symptoms, such as the nagging feeling you have left the stovetop burner on, can be mildly distracting. Yet others, like compulsive hand washing, the inability to throw anything out, or nerve-racking feelings of guilt, can be completely paralyzing and make it nearly impossible for sufferers to lead healthy lives. Dr. Baer gives readers the tools to assess their own symptoms, set goals, and create therapeutic programs for themselves. He also helps readers differentiate between OCD and other psychological illnesses such as depression. From the latest treatments to important facts on the medications currently available and how they work, Getting Control is thorough, concise, and positive - a lifesaver for anyone whose well-being is affected by OCD. All material taken from