A diagnosis is made via a medical professional’s evaluation, based on specific diagnostic criteria.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) may go undiagnosed for years because individuals are too embarrassed and ashamed to reveal their symptoms or because they genuinely believe they are ugly.
It is distinguished from normal concerns about appearance or vanity because the preoccupations are time-consuming and cause significant distress or impair functioning.
Medical professionals diagnose BDD when indiviudals do the following:
- Are preoccupied with one or more flaws in their appearance that other people think are insignificant or do not see.
- Repeatedly do or think things (such as checking themselves in a mirror, grooming themselves excessively, or comparing themselves to others) because they are so concerned about their appearance.
- Feel greatly distressed or become less able to function normally (at work, in their family, or with friends) because they are so concerned about the perceived flaws in their appearance.