Body dysmorphic disorder: Part 1 – introduction

by Dr Nell Ellison and Dr David Veale


Last updated: February 2016


Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is defined as a preoccupation with a perceived defect(s) or flaw(s) in physical appearance that is not observable or appears only slight to others.


BDD is characterised by severe distress or handicap, yet it remains a relatively hidden disorder. BDD patients have a poor quality of life, are socially isolated, depressed and at high risk of completing suicide. They often have needless dermatological treatment and cosmetic surgery and engage in time-consuming rituals.


The condition is easily missed and stigmatised. It may also be trivialised. The majority of patients with BDD do not volunteer their symptoms and therefore, although the diagnosis is relatively easy to make, it is often overlooked.


In this module we will provide an introduction to the phenomenology of BDD, and the second module will go on to discuss diagnosis and treatment of the disorder.

Start the module



If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Body dysmorphic disorder: Part 2 – diagnosis and treatment by Dr Nell Ellison and Dr David Veale


Assessment and management of obsessive-compulsive disorder by Dr Amit Nigam et al


Depression in children and adolescents by Dr Raphael Kelvin



BJPsych Advances: related articles for CPD Online



Related Advances articles


Download take-home notes to print and annotateDownload take-home notes to print and annotate

© 2021 Royal College of Psychiatrists