Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is considered an anxiety disorder, in which a person is excessively worried about their appearance in the absence of a defect or significant physical abnormality. People may become obsessed with trying to fix or hide the imagined defect, which can be time consuming and have marked negative consequences on their private, social and occupational activities.


The core symptoms of BDD are a preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance, and excessive concern there is a slight physical anomaly (e.g. spot/hair). This preoccupation is accompanied by significant distress.

The following tendencies might indicate BDD:

  • Marked dissatisfaction with one or more facial features and or particular body areas
  • Thoughts that your body/facial features and out of proportion
  • Excessively worrying that you are too fat or too skinny
  • Excessively worrying that you are too pale or your skin is abnormal
  • Being unable to leave the house without heavy make-up
  • Brushing or styling hair obsessively
  • Constantly checking your appearance in mirrors or avoiding them completely
  • Seeking constant reassurance about your appearance
  • Regularly checking your body
  • Picking your skin
  • Constantly comparing yourself with others
  • Researching or seeking cosmetic surgery or having other types of medical treatment to change the area of concern

Best Evidence-Based Treatments

The National Institute of Health Care and Excellence recommend the following psychological therapies for the highest success rate in treating BDD:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):
Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physiological sensations. The cognitive facet assumes that the meaning one gives to an event is important and if you can change the interpretation or perception you can change the feeling (affect) associated with it. The behavioural facet assumes changing what you do is often a powerful way of changing other things in your life, which can improve affect and reduce depressive symptoms.

Alternatively one can opt for a medical treatment. A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) have been considered effective in the treatment of BDD. However, the combination of medication and the psychological therapy mentioned above is deemed the most effective intervention for severe BDD according to research trials.

Elite Psychology comprises of an expert team, specialising in the range of best evidence-based therapies for BDD. Our highly qualified associates are accredited in CBT specifically designed for the treatment of BDD, complimented by psychiatrists who can prescribe medication on private prescriptions. We can assess you and provide the most efficacious therapy tailored to your difficulties. We know the importance of being understood, and endeavour to deliver the highest standard of psychological interventions to meet your needs.

Call us on 020 3815 7935 for further information or to book an assessment. Alternatively you can complete the online contact form.