BDD is a type of mental illness where people constantly worry about the way they look. They may think something that isn’t really there, or that others don’t even notice, is a serious defect. In the UK, around 1 in 50 have the condition. Men and women are equally affected.
And BDD is certainly not a new phenomenon, brought on by a perfection-obsessed society with a penchant for selfies according to Dr O’Connor who reveals it’s been around for centuries.
While the severity of the disorder varies, for many sufferers it causes real emotional distress and can have a devastating impact on their work and social lives. Suicide rates are high for those with the condition (and could be up to 25% according to recent estimates).
“There is a huge amount of shame in BDD,” says Dr O’Connor who heads up The Body Image Clinic – a specialist London facility which provides assessment and treatment for body image concerns.