The majority of individuals with body dysmorphic disorder participate in ritualistic, repetitive behaviors to check, hide, or attempt to improve what they observe as an aesthetic flaw.
These repetitive and compulsive behaviors may take many hours per day and only provide temporary relief from the body related obsessions. These behaviors often include:
Most people who suffer with body dysmorphic disorder are severely distressed by what they perceive as physical defects, and as a result, their functioning and quality of life is impaired. They often suffer from major depression.
The preoccupations with a perceived or imagined flaw, also known as obsessions, are difficult to control and very time consuming. Individuals may spend many hours a day obsessing about what they consider to be a defect in their appearance. BDD also causes high levels of occupational and social disability including unemployment, absenteeism, lost productivity, and relational or marital problems. In the most severe cases, BDD may incapacitate the sufferer and keep them housebound. Research on body dysmorphic disorder has determined that suicidal ideation and suicide attempts are extremely high. Many BDD sufferers seek non-psychiatric treatment: Research estimates show that 7-15% of cosmetic surgery and 12% of dermatological patients suffer from BDD.
It has been estimated that Body Dysmorphic Disorder may be very common with a rate of 1-2% in the general population, effecting both men and women. Embarrassment and shame often prevents sufferers from revealing their true degree of distress, not only to their spouses, friends, and family, but to healthcare professionals as well. This makes BDD extremely difficult to diagnose, thus it is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Some misdiagnoses include, but are not limited to, obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder.
Fortunately there is hope! With the correct treatment, many individuals with body dysmorphic disorder do recover and live a much higher quality of life. For detailed information on our treatment programs, please read about our Weekly Outpatient Program and BDD Intensive Outpatient Program.