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Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions that you would like addressed dealing with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, please write to us at brit@bddcentral.com, and we will post your questions along with the answer.



Q: When does the onset of BDD usually occur?
A:Studies claim that adolescence is the most common time of onset. But, I've heard of numerous cases where people started displaying symptoms as early as five years old. I personally have had BDD since I was 10 years old, and the obsessions became more severe as the years went on.

Q: Everyone is dissatisfied with their appearance in some way, so wouldn't everyone have BDD?
A:No. BDD seems to have much less to do with appearance, actually. BDDers usually dislike every aspect of themselves to the point of total self hatred! The question at hand is, how often do you think about your appearance concerns? With BDDers, their concerns are obsessive. They spend hours a day thinking about everything from appearance, to communication, to mistakes they've made, and they can't stop! They often perform rituals, looking at themselves in reflective surfaces repeatedly, or ask for constant reassurance. Additionally, depression is often an unwelcome visitor that accompanies BDD. To top it all off, BDDers have the unsatisfying bonus of having BDD attacks, which is a time when BDD feelings get so intense, that the only viable option is to commit suicide. I don't know many people who dislike their looks so much that they'd rather die than live looking like they do. Another thing to remember, is for an official diagnosis, the appearance concerns must be so intense, that the victim is impaired socially, occupationally, or in other important areas of functioning.


Q: Is Anorexia and BDD the same?
A: Technically, they are two different disorders, anorexia nervosa referring to people who have a distorted view on their body weight and proportions. BDD deals with face, hair, and all body parts and proportions. I guess that sometimes, it would be a tough call, deciding if it was BDD or Anorexia, as many people with BDD are concerned with only their body. I also believe that Anorexia and BDD may be very closely related, although there is no official evidence stating this.


Q: How many people have BDD?
A: The true incidence of BDD is unknown (I've heard estimates of around 2% of the population, but it could be more, due to the secrecy of the disorder, and the fact that many people with BDD have social phobia and are afraid of visiting the doctor), but it has been diagnosed in 1.9 percent of nonclinical patients and in 12 percent of psychiatric outpatients.

Q: Is it possible to entirely cure BDD?
I give this question an enthusiastic, definitive, all out, yes. The question is, what you consider "cured", though. Taking medication and masking the symptoms of BDD is not a cure to me. Living a life where I can look forward to the future, be confident to try new things, not perform rituals, feel ok when I look at myself in the mirror, and be productive, happy, BDD attack free with minimal chances of relapse, and self sufficient is what I consider a cure. And yes, that's 100% obtainable. You'll even notice that BDD has left you with some positive traits, like compassion, analytical thinking abilities, understanding, and a desire to do good for others. Now, this all sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it's not, because you have to put in a lot of effort to get there. You have to make lifestyle changes, be patient, make mistakes, face fears, use willpower, challenge your old beliefs, and keep a positive attitude throughout. This may be the hardest battle you'll ever face, but I guarantee it's definitely worth overcoming in the end!