Risk factors of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

1. Abuse and bullying

Abuse or bullying may result in the development of negative self-image and lead you to have obsessions about your appearance. This is especially true if you faced such situations in your teenage years, where you are more sensitive about the way you look during this physical development phase.

2. Low self-esteem

If you have low self-esteem, you may become fixated on aspects of your appearance that you want to improve. This is especially so if you attach a lot of importance to how you look, or view your appearance as your most valuable asset.

3. Fear of being alone or isolated

If you believe that you need to look a certain way to maintain friends or find a partner, you may develop unhelpful concerns about your appearance. If a relationship then breaks down or a friendship group changes, this could worsen your concerns.

4. Perfectionism or competing with others

If you try to appear physically “perfect” or regularly compare your appearance to other people, the risk of BDD is higher. If you have a hobby or job that is very focused on your body (e.g. modelling, bodybuilding or gymnastics), you may be at greater risk.

5. Genetics

While some evidence suggests that BDD is more common in people whose family members also have BDD, it's difficult to pinpoint whether symptoms (e.g. believing that you are disfigured or frequent mirror checking), are inherited from your parents' genes or picked up from their behaviour.

6. Depression, anxiety, or OCD

People with other mental health problems, specifically depression, anxiety and OCD, are also more likely to have BDD. But it is not clear whether depression, anxiety or OCD are a cause of BDD, or if BDD is a cause of these mental health problems.

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