November 30, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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What is body dysmorphic disorder, how does it appear, and what can you do about it?

Body dysmorphic disorder is a disorder of body perception. People with body dysmorphic disorder focus heavily on a specific part of the body. They think they are ugly and they are very concerned about it. Strangers find these fears exaggerated or do not understand what a person with BDD feels like.

body dysmorphic disorder

In most cases, it concerns the face. Many people with body dysmorphic disorder hate their nose, ears, eyes, or hair, but it can actually be any part of the body. Skin, hair, nose, weight and abdomen are the five most common factors of insecurity.


The diagnosis is not yet known in the Netherlands. So it is not possible to say for sure how many people have this disorder and what percentages it belongs to.


The following statistics show that this is a serious disorder and not just an uncertainty. Nearly 80 percent of people with body dysmorphic disorder have occasional suicidal thoughts, and 20 percent even try.

to arise

The disorder develops during childhood or adolescence. Neurologically, body dysmorphic disorder is similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder or anorexia nervosa. In the DSM-5, the disorder is classified as obsessive-compulsive disorder and related disorders.

Body dysmorphic disorder can be caused by bullying, parenting, trauma, or (sexual) abuse. Social media can amplify complaints. Making the diagnosis is difficult in practice. There is no checklist on the basis of which this diagnosis can be made. It is a combination of several factors.

Psychiatric treatment

Body dysmorphic disorder is treated with therapy and medication, often antidepressants. Group therapy is also offered. Complaints can be reduced by cognitive behavioral therapy and by not learning to avoid.

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By: National Care Guide / Æde de Jong
Sources:, PsyQ, Amsterdam UMC