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Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) has been in the news recently as Superdrug have been told they are could do more to check that their patients are not suffering from BDD before they recieve Botox® injections. This blog will help provide you some extra information on the condition and how patients should be treated.

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a well known mental condition where someone is obsessed with a part of their body being flawed and goes to extreme lengths to correct the apparent defect. Despite having treatment these patients often are dissatisfied and continue to focus on minor defects or flaws. This fuels a vicious cycle of “perceived flaw-treatment-perceived flaw” and actually the patient is best treated with psychological or psychiatric therapies.

Without psychological treatment, some patients with BDD may end up having numerous cosmetic treatments and plastic surgeries in order to fix problems that are not there.

Should I be worried I have BDD?

In short the answer is no. There is a difference between those suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder and patients who would like to undergo cosmetic surgery to address an aesthetic problem.

BDD is a psychiatric condition that manifests as an obsession over appearance and over-treating a problem that no-one else notices. Rarely, patients with BDD can incorrectly undergo a number of cosmetic surgeries over their lifetime. In the UK it is actually illegal for Doctors to provide cosmetic treatments to patients potentially suffering from BDD.

It should be your Doctor’s duty to assess for Body Dysmorphic Disorder in their consultation. If they are worried you may be suffering from the condition then they may refer you to a specialist.

Typical symptoms of BDD include:

  • Making a huge effort to conceal flaws e.g. wearing loose clothes, applying a lot of makeup
  • Looking at yourself in the mirror a lot or even avoiding looking at a mirror at all
  • Spending a lot of time comparing the way you look to other people
  • Worrying excessively about a specific area of your body- particularly your face
  • Picking at your skin to make it “smooth”

These symptoms can be particularly distressing and patients often find it really affects their life. Some patients can even suffer from depression that can lead to self harm or suicide.

Potential sufferers of BDD

People who have had numerous cosmetic treatments are easy to spot and there are a few well known individuals who are thought to suffer from the condition.

Recently Rodrigo Alveswho has had a total of 62 cosmetic surgeries and spent approximately £600,000, underwent his latest treatment- a face reduction procedure. His previous treatments include Botox®, Dermal Fillers, Hair Transplantation, Thread Lifts, nose jobs, implants into his chest, liposuction and more.

At The Treatment Rooms we believe his surgeons and Doctors should look beyond what Rodrigo may want to have and assess whether having treatment in the first place is in his best interests.

Can you treat BDD?

BDD can be treated and the first step is going to see your GP. You may be referred to mental health services where the following treatments can be provided:

  • CBT- cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Anti-depressants

These treatments will help to tackle the potential underlying causes of BDD such as:

  • A chemical imbalance in the brain
  • A traumatic previous experience e.g. bullying or abuse

Interestingly, Rodrigo Alves regular admits to being bullied as a child by his school friends. This might make him predisposed to having BDD but there is no way of telling unless a full psychiatric assessment is made.

If you are worried about BDD then please contact your GP. Alternatively, you can click on the following links to find out more:

​- www.anxietyuk.org.uk

How do the Doctors and Surgeons at The Treatment Rooms London address BDD?

Our Doctors and Surgeons are fully trained to notice the clues that a patient may be suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder. In all patients requesting Hair Transplants, Hair Loss treatment, Botox®, Dermal Fillers and even Thread Lifts our Doctors fully assess your health and wellbeing to make sure you are safe to have treatment. If they are at all concerned they are more than willing to talk you through their concerns. This may include referring you to your GP or to mental health services for assessment.


  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46921769
  2. https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/7072236/the-rare-disorder-that-made-him-grow-boobs-as-a-teenage-boy-body-dysmorphia-and-years-of-cruel-bullying-the-tragic-truth-behind-cbb-star-roderigo-alves-500k-surgery-which-left-him-looking/
  3. https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/fashion-luxury/article/2114484/body-dysmorphia-hong-kong-doctor-fears-disorder-rife-low
  4. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-6590627/Human-Ken-Doll-Rodrigo-Alves-reveals-gruesome-results-five-hour-face-reduction-surgery.html
  5. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/body-dysmorphia/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181960/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871801/
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