What if I have a real defect?

People with BDD often ask this question.

The key is to understand that Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a problem of excessive worry and shame about appearance that will persist despite reassurance. It is often associated with fears of rejection or humiliation.

Some sufferers acknowledge that they may be blowing things out of proportion, others are so firmly convinced about their defect that they do not believe others (for example family members, friends or health professionals) trying to reassure them that it is unnoticeable or unimportant.

But whatever the degree of insight into their condition, sufferers are likely to have been told that they look “normal” many times. They have often been teased or bullied in the past about their appearance (e.g. acne, “big ears”) but this probably reflects far more about the bully than their target. Furthermore, their appearance has usually changed since the teasing began.

Visible flaws and BDD

A “real” defect such as a facial disfigurement that others can easily notice can also cause marked distress. You may not have BDD but you can still be helped to feel and function better – see for example www.changingfaces.org.uk.

Coping and Recovering from BDD when you have visible flaws. Webinar Series 2020
The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. Charity no. 1153753.