BDD can often be confused with an eating disorder. However, the two conditions are different.
The main difference between eating disorders and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is someone with an eating disorder is worried about their body weight and shape, which lead to behaviours that are aimed at trying to lose or control weight. While BDD usually doesn’t involve worries about being too fat or weighing too much. BDD tends to be focused on specific areas of concern and restricted eating may be employed to try and alter those perceived flaws.
Some people have both BDD and an eating disorder. An additional diagnosis of an eating disorder and BDD can occur when an individual fulfils criteria for one of the eating disorders and is also preoccupied and distressed by perceived defects in their appearance, which is unrelated to their weight and shape (for example their skin or nose).
A distorted body image is a feature of both BDD and eating disorders, which also share many other symptoms, such as low self-esteem. A preoccupation predominantly focused on being “too fat” or overweight may lead patients to check frequently in reflective surfaces or camouflage their body. Such behaviour does not usually meet the criteria for BDD when it is associated with periods of disordered eating such as dietary restriction or other compensatory strategies to control weight or shape.
Some individuals may not fulfil the criteria for anorexia or bulimia nervosa, but may be diagnosed as having an “Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder”.
Individuals who are preoccupied by not being muscular enough or having muscles which are too puny would however be diagnosed as having Muscle Dysmorphia.