BDD and Co-Occurring Conditions: More Than Dysmorphia

It is not uncommon to struggle with appearance. Many stand in front of the mirror or look at a picture of themselves only to point out all the minor flaws they’d like to change. It may cause some discomfort or unease, but it doesn’t affect their ability to live a normal life. Most brush it off as simply another minor frustration.

This scenario is far from being the case for individuals struggling with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). The dysmorphia experienced exceeds general body dissatisfaction. Those with BDD can feel so overwhelmed and consumed by their perceived flaws that it impacts their ability to live normally.

Some individuals with body dysmorphic disorder also deal with an additional co-occurring condition. They not only have BDD to manage, but another condition to grapple with as well. What kinds of conditions are co-occurring with body dysmorphic disorder? How do these individuals manage their symptoms well enough to make it through the day?

More About Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by a person’s preoccupation with their perceived flaws. These flaws tend to be minor or even nonexistent in the eyes of others, but they are very real to the person with BDD. They can feel so ashamed, embarrassed, and anxious that it may even cause them to withdraw from social situations.

Individuals with body dysmorphic disorder place intense focus on their body image and appearance. They repeatedly check the mirror throughout the day, spend excessive time grooming, and overly seek reassurance. Perceived flaws cause significant distress and affect their ability to function in daily life.

BDD and Co-Occurring Conditions

Some individuals with BDD only suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. But many studies find BDD has a high co-occurrence with other mental health diagnoses. These include conditions like anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. Co-occurring conditions create a layered problem that is more difficult to manage and has a more severe impact on daily functioning.


Anxiety disorders contribute to a range of problems in daily life. They cause individuals to fixate on situations or experiences to the point of feeling significant and consuming distress. Anxiety is a common condition that co-occurs with body dysmorphic disorder because of the intense fixation on perceived flaws. These fears and worries keep individuals from socializing and often create a vicious cycle of obsession and anxiety.


Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders. Individuals with body dysmorphic disorder often experience co-occurring depression at one time or another. Depression is a consuming condition that causes people to withdraw from friends and loved ones. The isolation perpetuates feelings of depression and makes it harder to take action to overcome it. Depression that co-occurs with BDD often stems from internalizing feelings about their flaws and their isolation from others.

Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder is a common co-occurring condition for many people with mental health disorders. People often turn to drugs or alcohol to find relief from their overwhelming symptoms. Their attempts to self-medicate their condition may progress to the point of developing a substance use disorder. Using substances to relieve the intense distress caused by body dysmorphic disorder may result in an eventual co-occurring substance disorder.

Effective Treatments For Co-Occurring Disorders

Finding effective treatment for body dysmorphic disorder that co-occurs with another disorder can be more difficult than treatment for BDD alone. Not all treatment facilities understand the intricacies of working with individuals who have co-occurring disorders.

Treating BDD and a co-occurring mental health disorder requires compassion and understanding. If you have a co-occurring condition, you understand this firsthand. Maybe you’ve tried seeking treatment for your co-occurring disorder before and found they weren’t effective. Or maybe you’ve hesitated to ask for help out of fear they might not be able to help you.

If you’re looking for treatment for BDD and a co-occurring disorder, Magnolia Creek is here to help. We provide comprehensive eating disorder treatment programs with your situation in mind. You never have to worry that we don’t understand what you’re going through; we’ve worked with thousands of individuals looking for freedom from their symptoms.

Are you interested in learning more about the programs we offer? Call us or fill out an online form today and an admissions counselor will walk you through any questions or concerns you have. Magnolia Creek is here to help you find relief from your body dysmorphic disorder so you can return to living life as you once knew it, as soon as you reach out to us and allow us to help you.



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