Almost everyone feels unhappy about the way they look at some point in their life and these thoughts usually come and go, and can be forgotten. However, for someone with BDD, the thoughts are very distressing and do not go away, which can have a significant impact on their daily life. The person believes they are ugly or defective and that other people perceive them in this way, despite reassurances from others about their appearance. It is estimated that up to one in every 100 people in the UK may have BDD, although this may be an underestimate as people with the condition often hide it from others. BDD has been found to affect similar numbers of males and females. The condition can affect all age groups and usually starts when a person is a teenager or a young adult, when people are generally most sensitive about their appearance. Past life experiences may play a role too, for example, BDD may be more common in people who were teased, bullied or abused when they were children. BDD can seriously affect daily life, often affecting work, social life and relationships. However, if you have BDD, there is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. It is a long-term health condition, just like many physical conditions, and it’s not your fault. Seeking help is important because it is unlikely that your symptoms will improve if left untreated.
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