Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by cognitive, somatic, emotional, and behavioral components. These components combine to create an unpleasant feeling that is typically associated with uneasiness, fear, or worry. Anxiety is a generalized mood condition that occurs without an identifiable triggering stimulus. As such, it is distinguished from fear, which occurs in the presence of an external threat. Additionally, fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats that are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.

Treatment of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

BDD Treatment


Fortunately, treatment is available and can often result in significant improvements in BDD symptoms.


What is effective?

Studies have shown that treatment with medications and/or cognitive-behavioral therapy can result in significant improvement in symptoms and functioning.

Frequently asked questions about medication treatment for BDD


The following information is provided as a guideline and should not be used in substitution for a consultation with a psychiatrist. People with BDD may have a variety of additional problems and may experience varying responses to treatments, so a comprehensive assessment by a psychiatrist and an individualized treatment plan (ideally in conjunction with a psychotherapist) are highly recommended. Stay tuned for future FAQs about psychotherapy treatment for BDD.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Symptoms

How do I know if I have body dysmorphic disorder?

Here are questions that might help you decide if you are experiencing symptoms of BDD:

The UCLA Eating Disorder and Body Dysmorphic Disorder Research Program

Our Research Aim

To better understand how visual and emotional information is processed in people with body dysmorphic disorder and those with anorexia nervosa, and how this relates to the symptoms they experience.


We invite you to watch our featured interviews with experts and individuals. The topics include anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder. 
A special thanks to the generous and courageous individuals who participated in the making of this series. 

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a psychiatric condition that is characterized by abnormally low weight and refusal to maintain a minimally normal weight. It is accompanied by intense fear of weight gain or being "fat," even when underweight, and denial of the seriousness of the effects of extreme weight loss. It is also associated with a distorted perception of the body, and one’s self-worth being overly influenced by body weight or shape.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a body image disorder in which individuals are preoccupied with a perceived flaw in physical appearance, which can result in severe functional impairment and suffering. Individuals with BDD usually focus on one or more aspects of their appearance, such as skin, nose, hair, eyes (or any other part of their appearance), which they believe to be defective or ugly. Individuals with BDD often feel depressed, anxious and ashamed. Their degree of anguish and distress is such that it interferes with their day-to-day activities such as work, school, or social situations.

BDD is believed to affect 1-2% of the general population. It also affects as many as 6-14% of those in mental health settings presenting with an anxiety or depressive disorder, 10-15% of those in dermatology settings, and 6-15% in cosmetic surgery settings.

People with BDD frequently compare their appearance to others and check their appearance in mirrors or other reflective surfaces. They often camouflage their perceived flaw with make-up, hair, or clothing. They may change their body position to only allow people to see them from certain angles or in certain lightinig conditions. Other behaviors include mirror avoidance, skin picking and seeking out dermatologists or plastic surgeons with the hope they can overcome the distress by changing the perceived defect.

Jamie Feusner
Clinical neuroscience of emotion and perception in anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder.

Contact the Anxiety Disorders Program

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UCLA Anxiety Disorders Clinic: (310) 825-9989

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Anxiety Disorders Research at UCLA

Current Research Into Anxiety Disorders

About Anxiety Disorders

About Anxiety Disorders