Related Disorders


In addition to providing treatment services for Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), we provide treatment for mental health disorders that have similarities to BDD, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), olfactory reference syndrome, and eating disorders. Four people of varying ethnicity and gender standing outside.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

People with OCD suffer from unwanted and intrusive thoughts or images – called obsessions – that they find hard to get out of their mind. Some common obsessions are fears of contamination from germs or dirt, fear that something bad will happen because you forgot to lock the door or turn off an appliance, fear of accidentally causing harm, concerns about symmetry and order, moral or religious fears, and unwanted sexual thoughts. People with OCD usually try to ease the anxiety or distress from the obsessions by repeatedly doing certain behaviors – called compulsions – such as washing or cleaning again and again, checking things many times, or spending a lot of time arranging objects or making things perfect. The obsessions or compulsions are upsetting, interfere with day-to-day life, or take up a lot of time (about an hour or more a day).

OCD and body dysmorphic disorder are similar in a number of ways. The appearance-related preoccupations that occur in BDD are similar to OCD obsessions. Like many people with OCD, most people with BDD perform repetitive and time-consuming behaviors (compulsions or rituals). These behaviors (such as mirror checking or comparing with others) are an attempt to reduce the anxiety or distress caused by the obsessive thoughts and to prevent an unwanted event (such as being rejected by other people) from occurring.

Although BDD and OCD share many features, they are different disorders. Some of their differences are the following:

  • People with BDD are more likely than those with OCD to be depressed, experience suicidal thoughts and behaviors and abuse substances (alcohol or drugs).
  • People with BDD are more likely to strongly believe or be convinced that their beliefs are true – for example, that they really do look ugly or deformed. People with OCD are more likely to recognize that their obsessive beliefs are unrealistic or inaccurate. For example, people with OCD they are less likely to believe that they will really get cancer from touching an astray or that their house will burn down in a fire if they don’t check the stove multiple times.
  • People with BDD appear more likely to inaccurately believe that other people take special notice of them in a negative way (for example, mock them).
  • A majority of people with BDD seek and receive cosmetic treatment – such as surgery, dermatologic or dental treatment - in an attempt to diminish their preoccupation. This is not the case for OCD. These treatments appear to usually be