Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental illness that is characterized by a preoccupation with minor or imaginary physical flaws. The perceived flaws are usually of the skin, hair, and nose.

Symptoms and signs of body dysmorphic disorder include anxiety, worry, stress, excessively looking into a mirror, compulsive behaviors, excessive grooming, and a self-conscious feeling. Other associated symptoms can include unwanted thoughts, picking at the skin or other features, attempts to hide the imperfections, consulting with medical specialists to improve one's appearance, and undergoing cosmetic surgical or other procedures. Even after cosmetic surgery, people with BDD are typically not pleased with the outcome and still believed their appearance is flawed.

Causes of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)

Medical professionals do not understand the cause of BDD, which may involve a combination of genetic and environmental influences.

Other body dysmorphic disorder symptoms and signs

  • Anxiety
  • Compulsive Behaviors
  • Consulting With Medical Specialists to Improve One's Appearance
  • Excessive Grooming
  • Excessively Looking Into a Mirror
  • Hiding Perceived Imperfections
  • Picking at the Skin
  • Self-Conscious Feeling
  • Stress
  • Undergoing Cosmetic Procedures
  • Unwanted Thoughts
  • Worry


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.