10 Ways You Can Help Someone With Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

BDD or Body dysmorphic disorder is also known as body dysmorphia is a very tough thing for people who struggle with it. it is also a difficult phase for a loved one of the person who is suffering from body dysmorphia. People with Body dysmorphic disorder have a belief that they have a perceived flaw in their appearance that makes them look ugly.

Such people spend time thinking about the flaws in their appearance, which creates a significant impact on their life. If you are reading this article, you may want to understand how you can help your loved one or friend suffering from body dysmorphia, since you are not able to control how they feel.

Although you must know that, body dysmorphia is a diagnosable mental disorder. It may take some time for the person to take the help needed. We will explain some ways in which you can help someone with body dysmorphia.

Recognizing the Signs of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Signs of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

When someone has BDD, they may obsess over their appearance and constantly check themselves for hours. They do not have any control over this obsession, they start focusing on their appearance more. A person suffering from BDD also avoids social events and often feels insecure. Here are some major signs of body dysmorphia below

Signs of body dysmorphia include-

  • Insecure feelings and hiding flaws through covering themselves with makeup or clothing, etc
  • An overwhelming feeling the flaw perceived makes them look ugly
  • Constant comparison with another person
  • Either repetitively looking in the mirror or avoiding looking in the mirror.
  • Seeking reassurance from others
  • Going for cosmetic procedures and surgeries
  • Isolating themself from any kind of social events or meetings
  • Spending excessive time on grooming
  • Thinking that perceived flaw will lead to improper judgment from others
  • Believing that they have to be Perfect.
  • Skin picking or other compulsive behaviors

Tips to Help Someone with Body Dysmorphic Disorder

1. Accept their feelings

The best thing one can do to help someone is by accepting the feelings of the person struggling with BDD and understanding that it is difficult for them to cope with BDD.

Although we may not understand how they are feeling and what they are going through, it is important to understand that these feelings are not in their control. Do not tag them as ‘self-obsessed’ or make them feel they are over-reacting.

2. Offer space to talk

For someone experiencing BDD, it can be difficult for them to acknowledge and talk about their feelings since for them it is embarrassing. For them, the first step is seeking help by opening up and talking about their insecurities.

Research (R) has found that people who suffer from BDD experience embarrassment and often feel ashamed to express their thoughts and feelings. This can make them feel isolated even more so when they have someone who can hear them without any kind of judgment will help them to feel better. Even though they may not always want to talk about their feelings but just knowing you’re available to listen to them can be very comforting.

3. Offer support with self-help

If the person with BDD is working on a self-help program, with the help of a therapist or on their own, just support them and encourage them that they are doing well. you can also show support by accompanying them to the treatment sessions with them.

4. Offering practical support

Giving them practical support, such as helping with childcare or household chores, which can give them time to attend appointments and they can have some space for themselves.

5. Understanding their triggers

Certain things and situations for people with BDD can be really difficult and those things can provoke more repetitive behavior. At times when you are out with them and come across things like mirrors in the shop or in a restaurant these situations cannot be avoided but helping them to overcome such fear and facing these situations with them may help.

6. Celebrate their successes

Celebrating little things and small achievements can help to keep your loved one motivated as when you notice them spending less time grooming or indulging in small social meetings can make them feel they are improving as getting out of such compulsive behaviors can be very difficult for them and it does take time.

7. Do not take anything personally

If your loved one is struggling with BDD it can be difficult for them and they at times would not want to see you or they might avoid any kind of social contact. You need to understand that this is due to their negative feelings about their appearance rather than taking anything personally.

8. Avoid debates

A person struggling with BDD may seek reassurance about their appearance again and again. Try to avoid any kind of debates about their looks and also suggest others not to provoke the same.

9. Boost their confidence

When you see your loved ones doing better and getting out of their comfort zone, praise them. Let them know they are perfect just the way they are. Encourage them to do the things they enjoy.

10. Get support for yourself

At times it can be overwhelming for you to be close to someone going through BDD, especially if you care a lot about them. During this time you can take help from someone who is in the same situation as you and find out more about these problems. Understand that BDD can be treated and you do not have to worry about your loved one. Just focus on providing them the support and may need to be patient with them. The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation provides information on BDD for friends and family.

Things you should not say to someone with BDD

Here are some don’t that you should follow in order to not mess up the situation more-

  • Take any defensiveness personally.
  • Giving them a tag of over-reacting to things.
  • Provoking them to go undergo plastic surgery.
  • Offering them to make them look and feel better by encouraging them to use more makeup or wear a waist trainer.
  • Saying phrases like “It’s all in your head.”
  • Engage in a debate over their appearance.


BDD can be overwhelming and certain times frustrating for those who struggle and go through it, during these times all you can do to make things better is offer your support and assistance without encouraging any kind of negative thoughts and feelings. Hope this article will help you to make your loved one feel better while struggling with BDD. Thank you for reading.

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