Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), also known as excoriation or Dysmorphophobia, is one of five disorders classified as Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders in the DSM V (Diagnostics and Statistics Manual). It is a stand alone disorder that can also be found comorbid with OCD.

BDD is an anxiety disorder where a person is abnormally preoccupied with an imagined or slight physical appearance defect. The thoughts about the defect are pervasive and intrusive.

BDD affects about one to two per cent of the population and can be found equally among men and women. Children and adults can suffer from the disorder, though the onset of the disorder is usually adolescence.

The distress of BDD can worsen quality of life. It impairs social, occupational and academic functioning and results in social isolation. A person with BDD can be fearful of being thought of as vain or superficial and thereby conceals the preoccupation. The disorder can be found comorbid with OCD, major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder and substance abuse.

It is common for BDD to result in suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

Sufferers of BDD want to change or improve some aspect of their physical appearance. Usually the focus is hair, nose or skin, and in men, body size and musculature. Sufferers may seek cosmetic surgery or dermatological treatment to fix the imagined defect, though the outcome usually does not eliminate BDD symptoms.

Commonly, BDD sufferers will perform such acts as frequently checking how they look, seeking reassurance about their looks, picking their skin to make it feel right, repeatedly grooming hair and reapply makeup and even avoiding mirrors to avoid being triggered by how they look.

Individuals can feel ugly, hideous or somehow defective, even if the individual looks normal or even attractive. The disorder can result in delusions of reference where the sufferer believes, as an example, that passersby are pointing at the perceived flaw.

BDD is most commonly treated with medications and/or behavioral therapy.