Help Someone With Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A Guide for Family and Friends

help someone with body dysmorphic disorder

If you have a friend or family member who suffers from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), you may be wondering how you can best help them. BDD is a mental health condition that causes people to obsess over their appearance and flaws, to the point where it interferes with their daily life. If you are not sure how to help someone with Body dysmorphic disorder, don’t worry! This guide will walk you through the basics of BDD and provide tips for how you can support your loved one.

What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder

BDD is a very real mental health disorder that causes someone to become fixated on one or more perceived physical flaws. To the outside world, these flaws may be unnoticeable, but to the person suffering from BDD, they are all-consuming and cause tremendous anxiety and distress. People with BDD often go to great lengths to hide their flaws, including spending hours in front of the mirror, avoiding social situations, and undergoing risky cosmetic procedures.

If you suspect that someone you know is struggling with BDD, there are some things you can do to help. The first step is to educate yourself about the disorder and its symptoms. This will help you to better understand what the person is going through and how to best support them.

What Are The Symptoms Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

What Are The Symptoms Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (1)

The most common symptom of body dysmorphic disorder are:

Perceived Defect In Appearance

A person with this disorder can obsess over a tiny, imagined flaw or they can be completely preoccupied with a major perceived deformity. For example, they may believe their nose is too large or that their skin is scarred.

Excessive Grooming

People with body dysmorphic disorder often spend an excessive amount of time grooming themselves. This can include things like:

Checking Their Reflection Compulsively

A person with body dysmorphic disorder may spend hours checking their reflection in mirrors or other reflective surfaces. They may also avoid mirrors altogether.

Excessive Dieting and Exercise

People with body dysmorphic disorder often become obsessed with their weight and shape. They may diet excessively or exercise compulsively.

Avoidance Of Social Situations

People with body dysmorphic disorder often avoid social situations because they are embarrassed or self-conscious about their appearance. In severe cases, people with this disorder may become completely isolated.

These are some of the most common symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder. If you think someone you know may be suffering from this disorder, it is important to talk to them about it.

How To Help Someone With Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

How To Help Someone With Body Dysmorphic Disorder

It can be really tough to see someone you love going through something as difficult as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

However, there are things that you can do in order to help them.

Be Supportive And Understand

The first thing you need to do is be supportive. This can be really hard because, as much as you want to help them, there’s not a lot you can do. However, what you can do is listen to them and try to understand what they’re going through.

Encourage Them To Seek Help

The next thing you can do is encourage them to seek help. This can be in the form of therapy, medication, or both. It’s important that they get the help they need in order to manage their BDD.

Accept Their Feelings

Another thing you can do is accept their feelings. BDD can cause a lot of intense emotions and it’s important to validate those feelings. Let them know that it’s okay to feel the way they do and that you’re there for them.

Celebrate Their Successes

You can celebrate their successes. BDD is a difficult disorder to live with and even small accomplishments should be celebrated. This will help them to feel good about themselves and continue working towards recovery.

Educate Yourself About BDD

Another way you can help is by educating yourself about BDD. This way, you can better understand what they’re going through and how to best support them.

Learn Their Triggers

Some people with BDD have triggers that can make their symptoms worse. It’s important to learn what those triggers are so that you can avoid them.

Be Patient

Recovery from BDD can be a long and difficult process. It’s important to be patient and understand that there will be good days and bad days. Sometimes, all you can do is be there for them and offer your support.

Be There For Them

Last but not least, be there for them. This means being understanding, patient, and supportive. It’s important to remember that this is a difficult disorder for them to deal with and that they need all the support they can get.

If you or someone you know is struggling with BDD, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available to both sufferers and their loved ones. With the right support, BDD can be managed and those affected can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.

What To Say To Someone With Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

There’s a chance you’re concerned about saying the wrong thing and making things worse. So, here are some phrases to try and avoid, as well as some that you should avoid.

What Are The Do’s?

  • Say that you love and care about them.
  • Encourage them to talk to you about how they’re feeling, and let them know that you’re a safe person to talk to.
  • Offer support, but don’t try to fix the problem or tell them what they should do.
  • Acknowledge that this is a real and serious issue for them.

What Are The Don’ts?

  • Don’t try to downplay the problem or tell them they’re overreacting.
  • Make assumptions about what they need or how they feel.
  • Don’t tell them to just “snap out of it” or “get over it.”


In conclusion, if you think someone you know may be suffering from body dysmorphic disorder, the best thing you can do is reach out and offer your support. Remember that BDD is a serious mental illness, and should not be taken lightly. If you are concerned for your loved one’s safety, or if their quality of life is severely impacted by their BDD, encourage them to seek professional help. With the right treatment, people with BDD can learn to manage their disorder and lead happy, fulfilling lives.

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