It's a psychiatric disorder related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People with BDD spend at least an hour per day (but often even longer) thinking about a flaw in their appearance that's either minor or not there at all, says Danyale McCurdy-McKinnon, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and clinical psychology director of the UCLA Fit for Healthy Weight Clinic. About 2.5% of adults in the U.S. have a diagnosis of BDD, says Sari Fine Shepphird, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and author of 100 Questions & Answers About Anorexia Nervosa.
BDD seems to occur just about evenly in men and women, though men are more likely to have preoccupations with muscle size or genitals, says Fine Shepphird. In fact, the subset of BDD called muscle dysmorphia (which is characterized by distorted thoughts about muscle size, shape, and leanness) is almost exclusively diagnosed in men.