Home / Our Services/ Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Dr.Livia Tedaldi

Dr.Livia Tedaldi

Clinical Psychologist
Experience(Years): 24+
Given Sessions: over 23000hours
Working with:Individuals,Couples,&Teen
Areas:Depression,Anxiety,ADD,BPD, Bipolar,ASD
Sam Agnew

Sam Agnew

Psychotherapist /Life Coach
Given Sessions:over 2500hours
Working with:Individuals,Couples,&Teen
Area:LGBTQIA+,ADHD,PTSD,CPTSD, Anxiety,Dyslexia,Dyspraxia,Dyscalculia
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition characterized by a preoccupation with one or more perceived flaws or defects in one's appearance that are not observable or appear slight to others. The preoccupation causes significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning. But know that you're not alone.
Our team of highly qualified psychotherapists has helped countless individuals just like you manage their BDD and live a life that seemed unimaginable before.
We understand that seeking therapy can be a difficult decision. That’s why our highly experienced therapists are compassionate, and offer a safe, non-judgmental space to work through your BDD.

View the profiles of our therapists below to learn more about them, how they can help you and to book in an initial consultation.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) ?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition characterised by a distorted perception of one's appearance. Individuals with BDD obsess over perceived flaws in their appearance, which can lead to severe distress and impairment in daily functioning. Despite reassurances from others, the individual remains convinced of their flaws, often resorting to excessive grooming, avoiding social situations, or seeking cosmetic procedures. If you find yourself constantly preoccupied with your appearance and engaging in these behaviours, you may be wondering, do I have body dysmorphic disorder?

Who does Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) affect?

BDD affects approximately 0.5-1% of the population, with onset typically occurring during puberty. However, many cases go undiagnosed due to the stigma and shame associated with the condition. BDD can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background, though certain factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, and past experiences of bullying or trauma may increase the risk.

What are the Symptoms of BDD?

BDD manifests through various symptoms, which can significantly impact an individual's daily life. Here are some common signs to look out for:

  • Excessive Preoccupation with Perceived Flaws: Individuals with BDD often fixate on minor or imagined flaws in their appearance. These perceived flaws may involve multiple areas of the body, such as skin texture, facial features, or body shape. The preoccupation with these flaws consumes a significant amount of time and attention, leading to distress and impaired functioning.
  • Repetitive Behaviours: BDD is often accompanied by repetitive behaviours aimed at either scrutinising or concealing perceived flaws. Mirror checking, excessive grooming, and seeking reassurance from others about one's appearance are common examples. These behaviours serve as coping mechanisms but can exacerbate feelings of dissatisfaction and anxiety.
  • Avoidance of Social Situations: Due to intense self-consciousness about their appearance, individuals with BDD may avoid social interactions or activities where their perceived flaws could be exposed. This avoidance can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, further exacerbating emotional distress.
  • Emotional Distress: BDD is associated with a range of emotional difficulties, including anxiety, depression, and feelings of shame and worthlessness. The constant focus on perceived flaws and the inability to achieve an idealised appearance can contribute to profound psychological suffering.
  • Constant Comparison with Others: Individuals with BDD often engage in constant comparison of their appearance to others, particularly those they perceive as more attractive. This comparison frequently leads to negative self-evaluation and feelings of inadequacy.
What Causes of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

The exact cause of BDD is not fully understood, but it likely involves a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Some potential contributors to BDD include:

  • Genetic predisposition to anxiety or obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
  • Brain abnormalities affecting perception and processing of visual information.
  • Traumatic experiences related to appearance, such as bullying or teasing.
  • Sociocultural influences, including media portrayal of unrealistic beauty standards.
Treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Seeking help is crucial for managing BDD. Treatment typically involves a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is particularly effective in challenging distorted thoughts and behaviours related to appearance. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may also be prescribed to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Body dysmorphic disorder therapists can provide invaluable support and guidance on your journey to recovery. These therapists are trained to help individuals challenge negative thought patterns, develop coping strategies, and improve self-esteem. By working with a therapist experienced in treating BDD, you can gain the tools and insights necessary to overcome this challenging condition and lead a fulfilling life.

Eating Disorders and BDD

BDD commonly co-occurs with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Both conditions involve distorted perceptions of body image and can exacerbate each other's symptoms. It's essential for individuals with BDD and comorbid eating disorders to receive comprehensive treatment addressing both conditions simultaneously, which may include therapy, medication, nutrition coaching, and other supportive interventions. By addressing the complex interplay between body image concerns and disordered eating behaviours, individuals can work towards holistic recovery and improved overall well-being.

How to Help Yourself

Challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about your appearance by redirecting your focus towards your strengths and accomplishments. Remind yourself of your unique qualities beyond physical appearance.

Prioritise self-care activities aimed at enhancing your overall well-being. Incorporate regular exercise, maintain a balanced diet, and ensure you get adequate restorative sleep. Engage in activities that bring joy and fulfilment to your life. Cultivate hobbies, pursue interests, and foster meaningful connections with others. By shifting your focus away from appearance-related concerns, you can nurture a more holistic sense of well-being.

How to Get Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Recovery from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is possible with the right support and treatment. Here are some steps you can take to overcome BDD:

  • Seek professional help: Reach out to qualified therapists who specialise in treating BDD. Therapy, particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), can help challenge negative thought patterns and behaviours associated with BDD.
  • Build a support network: Surround yourself with understanding friends and family members who can offer encouragement and support during your recovery journey.
  • Practice self-care: Engage in activities that promote mental and physical well-being, such as exercise, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques.
  • Challenge negative thoughts: Learn to recognize and challenge distorted beliefs about your appearance. Focus on your strengths and accomplishments rather than perceived flaws.
  • Set realistic goals: Break down large goals into smaller, manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Celebrate your progress along the way.
  • Be patient and compassionate with yourself: Recovery from BDD takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and acknowledge the progress you're making, no matter how small.
How Can Counselling Help with BDD?

Counselling, particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), can be highly effective in treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) by helping individuals develop coping strategies to manage distressing thoughts and behaviours. These coping strategies are essential for navigating the challenges of coping with body dysmorphia and improving overall quality of life.

Therapist For Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Therapists provide support, guidance, and practical techniques to challenge irrational beliefs and improve self-esteem. Additionally, counselling can address co-occurring mental health issues such as panic attacks, stress, loneliness, and anger management, providing a comprehensive approach to treatment. By addressing these underlying concerns, individuals with BDD can learn to navigate their challenges more effectively and achieve greater emotional well-being.

Getting Help from TimeToBetter

At TimeToBetter, we offer personalised support and resources for individuals struggling with BDD and other mental health challenges. Our team of experienced professionals provides compassionate counselling services tailored to your unique needs, empowering you to overcome obstacles and live a fulfilling life.

In conclusion, Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a serious mental health condition that can significantly impact an individual's quality of life. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals can learn to manage symptoms and regain confidence in their appearance and themselves. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of BDD, don't hesitate to reach out for help and support.