BDD Affects Diverse Populations

bdd-womanBody Dysmorphic Disorder Affects People of All Ages, Genders, Races, Ethnic Groups and Cultures

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) most often begins during early adolescence, and it can occur even in young children. BDD appears to affect slightly more females than males. It occurs around the world, in both Western and non-Western cultures. People with BDD come from a variety of backgrounds, different socioeconomic groups and have varying levels of education. In other words, BDD can affect anyone.

It's important to realize that not all appearance concerns in adolescents are normal or simply a passing "phase"; sometimes they're BDD. If they are BDD, they need to be treated. If BDD isn't treated, normal development can be derailed, and long-term academic, occupational, and social problems can develop.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder in Women and Men

Women and men with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) appear to have more similarities than differences. They appear largely similar in terms of demographic factors such as age and educational level, BDD symptoms and co-occurring disorders such as depression.

However, there appear to be some differences. Females appear more likely to be preoccupied with excessive body hair and with their hips, breasts, legs, or weight (thinking they're too large and fat). They're also more likely than males to pick their skin, check mirrors and use camouflage to cover the disliked areas (for example, with makeup). They're also more likely to have an eating disorder in addition to having BDD.

Males are more likely to be unmarried and to be preoccupied with the appearance of their genitals or thinning hair. They're also more likely to think that their body build is too small, skinny, or not muscular enough (muscle dysmorphia). In addition, males are more likely to have a problem

Body Dysmorphic Disorder in Children and Adolescents

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Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) can begin in early childhood or as late as the 40s. It usually starts during adolescence.

Many BDD symptoms appear similar in children and adolescents compared to adults. Like adults, children and adolescents have distressing, time-consuming preoccupations that can focus on any body area. As in adults, BDD in children and adolescents typically causes problems with day-to-day functioning. These problems can include poor grades, dropping out of school, withdrawing from family and friends, becoming housebound and even attempting suicide.

However, there seem to be some differences in BDD in youth compared to adults. BDD and some of its effects may be more severe in youth. For example, suicide attempts may be even more common in children/adolescents than in adults with BDD.