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BDD sufferers may spend an excessive amount of time checking their appearance in mirrors, shops windows etc.
They may also spend time comparing their body parts to those of other people by, for example, looking at magazines.
BDD sufferers often seek treatment from dermatologists and cosmetic and plastic surgeons in an effort to reduce their perceived ugliness.
Many people do not get appropriate treatment (be it cognitive behavioural therapy and/or medication) as they are too embarassed and ashamed to tell their doctor they are so worried about some aspect of their appearance.
Some sufferers who are concerned about their complexion would never let themselves be seen without makeup (e.g.
going to bed with their makeup on), whilst those concerned with hair loss may never been seen in public without a hat.
Some people with BDD will have cosmetic surgery and, even if the surgery would be considered successful by the average person, they may not be happy with the outcome and even go onto have further procedures on the same area.
As yet it is not fully understood what causes the condition and researchers have developed neuroanatomical, neurochemical, genetic and cognitive behavioural models to explain BDD.
Although many people are concerned about some aspect of their appearance, body dysmorphic disorder sufferers concern about their appearance is considered excessive and their appearance worries significantly negatively impact upon their ability to work, socialize or carry out activities of daily living.
Body dysmorphic disorder sufferers may end up hospitalised and they have high rates of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.
The condition may be treated with SSRI anti-depressant medication and/or cognitive behavioural therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy entails the sufferer identifying and challenging their unhelpful, false thoughts and beliefs about their appearance and developing more realistic self talk.
Men and women appear to affected by BDD with near equal frequency.
However women tend to be worried about the appearance of their legs and breasts whereas men are more likely to worry about the size of their muscles. The condition affects approximately 1-2% of the population.