Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation (2015) describe BDD as a “disabling preoccupation with perceived defects or flaws in appearance.” Both females and males can become sufferers. BDD causes extreme distress in an individual and interferes with a persons ability to function socially.

According to the NHS an estimated one in every 100 people in the UK may have BDD.


Those struggling with BDD may exhibit the following behaviours:

  • ‘Camouflaging’ through clothing and holding their body in set positions
  • Mirror checking
  • Making comparisons between their own body and others
  • Seeking surgery
  • Avoiding mirrors
  • Skin picking
  • Excessive grooming
  • Over exercising
  • Changing clothes excessively


It is unclear of the exact causes behind BDD. However, there are some queries around whether or not genetics and chemical imbalances in the brain may result in BDD. It has also been suggested BDD may be more common in people who were bullied or abused when younger. Other causal factors may include critical parents, low self esteem and experiencing trauma.

Muscle Dysmorphia

Muscle dysmorphia occurs when an individual has a preoccupation and dissatisfaction of their body size and muscularity. An individual will seek to increase body weight and size as they will perceive themselves as small and fragile even when they are not.


Individuals struggling with muscle dysmorphia may show some of the following behaviours :

  • Excessive exercise
  • Strict dietary regimes
  • Avoiding specific food groups
  • Steroid abuse
  • Supplements (in particular ones that increase body size)

Generally, muscle dysmorphia body image disorder is found in males.


Often individuals with body image disorders may experience comorbid mental health issues such as eating disorders, anxiety, mood disorders and OCD.

How can First Steps Derbyshire help?

For children and young people struggling with any type of body dysmorphic disorder, First Steps can offer:

  • One to one support sessions.
  • Online support via befriending.
  • Young Person’s Recovery & Self-help Group.
  • Arts Psychotherapy – Dramatherapy

For over 21’s struggling with any type of body dysmorphic disorder, First Steps can offer:

  • Recovery and Self-help Groups.
  • Online support via befriending.
  • Arts Psychotherapy – Dramatherapy


For further information on BDD please visit:
The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation via