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Top 21 Body Dysmorphia Quotes That Will Make You Feel Less Alone

Body Dysmorphia Quotes

This post contains some of the best body dysmorphia quotes that will make you feel less alone in your recovery journey.

What Is Body Dysmorphia?

Body dysmorphia is condition that is characterized by an extreme preoccupation with one or more features that others don’t usually notice or find abnormal.

People with body dysmorphia usually have a distorted view of their own appearance. They often compulsively check their mirrors and might resort to needless cosmetic procedures, which have little effect on reducing their preoccupation and distress.

Related: Positive Body Image Quiz (+Best 12 Tips On How To Improve Your Body Image)

Body Dysmorphia Quotes 

1. “Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) involves an extreme preoccupation with one or more features that are not that noticeable or abnormal to others. People with BDD usually feel they are ugly, that they are ‘not right’ and are very self-conscious. They usually have compulsive behaviors such as mirror checking that are difficult to resist. They may resort to needless cosmetic and dermatological procedures with which they are either dissatisfied or that have little impact on their preoccupation and distress.”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

2. “People with BDD also tend to be very secretive and reluctant to seek help because they are afraid that others will think them vain or narcissistic. (Of course they are not vain at all, as their goal is to fit in rather than to stand out and they usually hate their appearance.)”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

3. “The older term for BDD, ‘dysmorphophobia’, is sometimes still used. The media sometimes refer to BDD as ‘Imagined Ugliness Syndrome’. This isn’t particularly helpful, as the ugliness is very real to the individual concerned.”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

4. “Some people with BDD acknowledge that they may be blowing things up out of proportion. At the other extreme, others are firmly convinced of the reality of their supposed abnormality. Whatever the person’s degree of insight into their own condition, someone with BDD usually knows that others believe their appearance to be ‘normal’ and will have been told so many times.”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Related: Top 5 Body Dysmorphia Exercises (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For BDD)

5. “The degree of disability caused by BDD varies from slight to very severe. Many people with BDD are either single or divorced, which suggests that they find it difficult to form relationships. It can make regular employment and family life impossible. Those who are in regular employment or who have family responsibilities would almost certainly find life more productive and satisfying if they did not have the symptoms of BDD. Their partners may also become involved and suffer greatly.”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

6. “Accepting yourself has two important implications for overcoming body shame and body dysmorphic disorder. First, it means you are equal in worth to other human beings just as you are, and this will help to improve your self-esteem and reduce shame. Second, it means that, because you’re not distracted by attacking yourself, you’ll be better able to concentrate on facing your fears, reducing your safety behaviors, and re-focusing on the world around you and what will make life more rewarding.”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

7. “Many people with body shame and body dysmorphic disorder compare themselves with highly polished celebrities or models. This puts further distance between your self-image and your ideal, making you feel more dissatisfied.”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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8. “Up to 1 per cent of the world’s population may have BDD, and it may be more frequent in some cultures where cosmetic surgery is more common. It is recognized to be a hidden disorder, as many people with BDD are too ashamed to reveal their problem.”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

9. “People with BDD may complain of a lack of symmetry, or feel that something is too big or too small, or that it is out of proportion to the rest of the body. Any part of the body may be involved in BDD, including the breasts or genitals. Although women are more likely to have hair concerns (e.g. that hair is the wrong colour, or it lacks body, or there is excessive body hair), men are significantly more concerned with hair thinning or baldness.”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

10. “Muscle dysmorphia is a variation of BDD in which a man is usually worried about being too small or too skinny or not muscular enough. Despite such concerns, many such men are unusually muscular and large. Many of them spend hours lifting weights and pay great attention to nutrition. Others may abuse steroids. In our experience, such individuals are less likely to seek help than other people with BDD and may be less disabled by the condition.”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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11. “BDD usually begins in adolescence, a time when people are generally most sensitive about their appearance. However, many people wait for years before seeking help. They may repeatedly consult dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons but often get little satisfaction from these treatments. When they do finally seek help from mental health professionals, they often ask about other symptoms such as depression, social anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and do not reveal their real concerns. However, people with BDD are often also depressed with a high rate of attempted suicide”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

12. “Most people with BDD or body shame have varying degrees of social anxiety and worry what others think about them.”

– David Veale, Rob Willson and Alex Clarke Robinson – Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder

13. “People with BDD (sometimes called “dysmorphophobia”) worry about how they look. Th ey think, for example, that their skin is blemished or scarred, their hair is thinning, their nose is too big, their breasts are too small—any body part can be disliked. Most people with BDD compare themselves with other people, try to hide or cover up the body parts they hate, and check mirrors a lot. But BDD is more than a bad hair day.”

– Katharine Phillips – Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder: An Essential Guide

14. “People with BDD not only focus on one or more physical flaws that other people don’t notice—they think about them excessively. They worry. They obsess. Their appearance worries cause them emotional suffering and interfere with their life. BDD isn’t just a bad hair day.”

Related: How To Start A Self Love Journey? Top 10 Powerful Ways to Love Yourself More

– Katharine Phillips – Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder: An Essential Guide

15. “BDD oft en makes little sense to other people. How can someone with no perceptible fl aw, or only a minimal fl aw, in his or her appearance focus so excessively on something others don’t notice? How can an attractive young woman like Jennifer think she’s “one of the ugliest people in the whole world”?”

– Katharine Phillips – Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder: An Essential Guide

16. “A likely reason that BDD’s been largely unknown is that it’s oft en kept secret. People with this illness are oft en too ashamed of their obsession to tell anyone about it. If they finally muster up the courage to reveal their concern to someone they trust, but are told they look fine, they feel misunderstood. So they may never mention it again. Or they may not mention it because they worry they’ll be considered “crazy.” But people with BDD aren’t crazy—they have a treatable medical problem.”

– Katharine Phillips – Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder: An Essential Guide

17. “Many people with BDD don’t like to admit the problems their symptoms cause them. Many try to ignore them and go on with their job, with raising children, with their lives. Some make a valiant effort to keep a stiff upper lip. But it’s usually a struggle, even when BDD is relatively mild.”

– Katharine Phillips – Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder: An Essential Guide

18. “Most people with BDD have a special and torturous relationship with mirrors. Most check excessively, and some get stuck in them for hours each day. Because excessively looking in mirrors can generate such intolerable anxiety, people who’ve found ways to stop this say they’re better off.”

– Katharine Phillips – Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder: An Essential Guide

19. “Although no one with BDD has exactly the same experience as anyone else with BDD, all people with BDD have important things in common: Everyone with BDD is preoccupied with some aspect of their appearance that they consider ugly, unattractive, or “not right,” and everyone is distressed or doesn’t function as well as they might because of their appearance preoccupations. The symptom severity and the details may differ from person to person, but these basic themes are shared by all.

– Katharine Phillips – Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder: An Essential Guide

20. “People with BDD share many similar behaviors. The common theme among all is the urge to scrutinize, improve, or hide the body part of concern. Mirror checking is the most common behavior. In fact, we’ve never met someone with BDD who didn’t struggle daily with the mirror in some manner.”

– Fugen Neziroglu – Overcoming Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A Cognitive Behavioral Approach to Reclaiming Your Life

21. “BDD is unlike other disorders because we all want to look good and, at one time or another, we’ve all been unhappy with some aspect of our bodies. BDD is not like anxiety and depression, which are easy to recognize and which sufferers are desperate to change. (Sometimes people with BDD don’t want to change from a psychological perspective but only a physical one.) We all know that most people don’t walk around feeling so anxious that they can’t breathe or so depressed that they can’t get themselves out of bed. However, wanting to look good, getting compliments, and being accepted are things that we all want. This is where the problem lies. How do you know if your concerns about your appearance are over the edge or just like everyone else’s concerns?”

– Fugen Neziroglu – Overcoming Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A Cognitive Behavioral Approach to Reclaiming Your Life

Related: Top 39 Self Love Mantras To Practice Daily (+9 Ways To Grow In Self-Love)

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22. “Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an excessive preoccupation with a nonexistent or slight defect in appearance. Most people with BDD spend more than an hour per day thinking about their perceived defect(s). Either they are concerned about something that others cannot see, or they worry excessively about a minor defect in their appearance, such as mild acne or scars. The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress and often interferes with daily functioning. The severity of BDD ranges from milder (i e., more manageable) to extremely severe.”

– Katharine Phillips, Sabine Wilhem, Gail Steketee – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Body Dysmorphic Disorder

23. “Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) most commonly emerges in the adolescent years and can have a devastating impact on families. Parents and carers typically bear much of the burden.”

– Nicole Schnackenberg, Benedetta Monzani and Amita Jassi– The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder

24. “It is easy to trivialize BDD by confusing patients’ appearance concerns with vanity. However, BDD is very distressing and impairing.”

– Katharine Phillips, Sabine Wilhem, Gail Steketee – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Body Dysmorphic Disorder

25. “On average, individuals with BDD appear to have poorer quality of life than either patients with clinical depression (major depression and/or dysthymia) or patients with a medical condition such as type II diabetes or a recent heart attack.”

– Katharine Phillips, Sabine Wilhem, Gail Steketee – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Body Dysmorphic Disorder

26. “Words young people with BDD have used to describe themselves to us have included ‘hideous’, ‘disgusting’, ‘monstrous’, ‘sub-human’ and ‘deformed’. In BDD, the young person’s perceived defects either cannot be seen by others or are viewed by the outside eye as part of normal human variation.”

– Nicole Schnackenberg, Benedetta Monzani and Amita Jassi– The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder

27. “Young people with BDD may be focused on literally any aspect of their appearance, although a distressing preoccupation with the skin, hair, teeth and nose are some of the most commonly reported areas of concern. Some young people will be focused on one aspect of their appearance at any given time, while others may be fixated on multiple aspects at the same time.”

– Nicole Schnackenberg, Benedetta Monzani and Amita Jassi– The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Related: How To Feel Your Feelings & Sit With Painful Emotions? (Top 9 Difficult Emotions)

28. “It’s usually hard to talk people with BDD out of their appearance beliefs. Whereas some patients realize that their appearance beliefs have a psychological or psychiatric cause, many do not; they simply think that their beliefs are true.”

– Katharine Phillips, Sabine Wilhem, Gail Steketee – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Body Dysmorphic Disorder

29. “Young people with BDD are excessively preoccupied with their perceived appearance flaws to such an extent that they experience significant emotional distress and can find it challenging to continue with their usual activities of daily living.”

– Nicole Schnackenberg, Benedetta Monzani and Amita Jassi– The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder

30. “Patients with BDD may also have negative core beliefs about others, such as “People only like attractive people,” which feed their core beliefs that they themselves are worthless and unlovable. When a negative core belief is activated, most people easily process information consistent with this core belief, but ignore or distort information inconsistent with the belief.”

– Katharine Phillips, Sabine Wilhem, Gail Steketee – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Body Dysmorphic Disorder

31. “Young people with BDD engage in repetitive behaviours in an attempt to fix or hide what they think is wrong with their appearance. Some examples of compulsive and repetitive behaviours related to BDD include mirror checking (and spending long periods of time, sometimes many hours a day, ‘stuck’ looking in the mirror), reassurance seeking, camouflaging, skin picking, compulsively seeking dermatology/dentistry/cosmetic surgery, continually touching the perceived defect, adhering to a rigid diet, and/or covering up windows/mirrors/reflective surfaces among others.”

– Nicole Schnackenberg, Benedetta Monzani and Amita Jassi– The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Related: Best 99 Coping Skills (+FREE Coping Worksheets)

32. “Importantly, whilst the focus of attention in BDD is on the physical appearance, BDD is not about vanity in any way. Rather, BDD would appear to have its foundations in a lack of self-worth, a poor self-concept, and a chronically low self-esteem.”

– Nicole Schnackenberg, Benedetta Monzani and Amita Jassi– The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder

33. “BDD can be very confusing for both young people and families. It can be particularly perplexing for the young person as, in the early stages, they often conceptualize their ‘issue’ as being physical and not emotional/psychological in nature.”

– Nicole Schnackenberg, Benedetta Monzani and Amita Jassi– The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder

34. “Muscle dysmorphia is a sub-type of BDD. Muscle dysmorphia is characterized by the belief that one’s body is too small or insufficiently muscular or ‘puny’.”

– Nicole Schnackenberg, Benedetta Monzani and Amita Jassi– The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder

35. “BDD tends to go hand in hand with low self-esteem, a poor self-concept and perfectionistic tendencies. Young people with BDD often talk about having low self-esteem and being uncertain about their self-worth and place in the world prior to their appearance-related distress.”

– Nicole Schnackenberg, Benedetta Monzani and Amita Jassi– The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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Body Image Resources

Books

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Quiz

Positive Body Image Quiz

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References

  • Portions of this article were adapted from the book Overcoming body image problems including body dysmorphic disorder, © 2009 by Alex Clarke, David Veal, and Rob Willson. All rights reserved.


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