Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is characterised by a preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in appearance, which is unnoticeable to others. Sometimes the flaw is noticeable but is a normal variation (e.g. male pattern baldness) or is not as prominent as the sufferer believes.
The older term for BDD is ‘dysmorphophobia’, which is sometimes still used. The media sometimes refer to BDD as “Imagined Ugliness Syndrome”. This isn’t particularly helpful as the ugliness is very real to the individual concerned, and does not reflect the severe distress that BDD can cause.
As well as the excessive self-consciousness, individuals with BDD often feel defined by their flaw. They often experience an image of their perceived defect associated with memories, emotions and bodily sensations – as if seeing the flaw through the eyes of an onlooker, even though what they ‘see’ may be very different to the