Facing Insecurities With Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is more than being fixated on one part of your image; the preoccupation on seemingly small aspects of your appearance can be crippling. The insecurity over flaws, visible or not, can lead to serious emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and shame.

So what can we do to better understand and address BDD, whether we have it or know someone who does? Is it possible to overcome the condition?

Audience Questions

Roberto Olivardia, PhD, explains the ways that BDD can be life-altering, discusses the factors that can contribute to body dysmorphic disorder, and answers questions about ways to navigate body insecurities and self-consciousness.

  • What is body dysmorphic disorder, and what are some of the most common misunderstandings about the condition?
  • How do you separate an eating disorder from BDD? How do you tease this out in evaluation?
  • You’ve mentioned that BDD can occur with other disorders. Do you find that a different route of treatment may be required to address the “other disorder” if BDD is an additional diagnosis?
  • What are some of the most common symptoms that indicate that either you, or someone you love, may be struggling with body dysmorphia?
  • Can you speak to the relationship between cosmetic surgeries and body dysmorphic disorder?
  • Any recommendations on treating someone with BDD who continues to have multiple surgeries?
  • Are you familiar with any research or statistics around BDD and transgender populations?
  • Can you talk about BDD in men, including muscle dysmorphia?
  • Do you think there’s a relationship between BDD and the increased use of social media, Zoom, and technology, including filters on apps?
  • What are some of the things that you should not say or do when interacting with someone who has BDD? How can we support someone who has a diagnosis of body dysmorphia?
  • Can you discuss some of the ways body dysmorphia can be treated?
  • Any books or resources you’d recommend to learn more about BDD?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


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About Dr. Olivardia

Roberto Olivardia, PhD, conducts diagnostic evaluations at The Pavilion at McLean Hospital. He maintains a private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he specializes in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as issues that face students with learning disabilities. He is a nationally recognized expert in eating disorders and body image problems in boys and men.

Dr. Olivardia is co-author of The Adonis Complex. He specializes in evidence-based psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral treatment. He currently serves on the Professional Advisory Boards for Children and Adults With ADHD (CHADD), The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for ADDitude. He has spoken on numerous webinars and presents at many talks and conferences around the country.

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Originally aired November 17, 2021