What causes BDD?
It is believed that BDD can develop due to a combination of genetic predisposition (nature) and environmental factors such as traumatic life experiences (nurture).
There has been very little research into Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which urgently needs funding so that we can understand it fully and develop better treatments. However. it is believed that BDD can develop due to a combination of genetic predisposition (nature) and environmental factors such as traumatic life experiences (nurture).
What could cause BDD?
- There may be a genetic predisposition or vulnerability to the disorder, which would make a person more likely to develop BDD in certain situations. Thus some people with BDD may have a relative with BDD, OCD or depression.
- Poor attachment to a carer and certain stresses during adolescence such as teasing, bullying or abuse may make the person more vulnerable.
- For some, perfectionism may be a factor but it is not generally true of people with BDD. They may however appreciate aesthetics more in themselves or others and have had training or interest in art or design.
Once BDD has started, it is maintained by the way a person judges themselves almost exclusively by their “felt impression” or what they see in a mirror. This image may be like a ghost from the past, for example, when they were teased or rejected. The person with BDD may fear being alone and isolated all their life or being worthless.
Once the disorder has developed it can be maintained by:
- excessive self-focus,
- avoidance behaviours,
- and excessive checking, comparison and reassurance seeking.