Signs & Symptoms

The defining features of Body Dysmorphic Disorder are a distressing and time-consuming preoccupation with an imaginary defect in one's appearance, or excessive concern about a slight physical anomaly. This preoccupation causes significant distress or impairs school or work, personal or social functioning. Although virtually any body part can become the source of preoccupation, BDD most commonly involves the eyes, ears, nose, skin, chin, jaw or other facial features. Other areas of concern include hands, feet, breasts and genitals. People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder are ashamed of their "defect" and invent elaborate means to hide their deformity from the world. Camouflaging behaviors include excessive hair combing and hair removal, ritualized application of makeup and avoidance of situations that might expose the perceived defect.