Most of us feel unhappy or insecure about the way we look at some point in our life, however these feelings usually come and go. While body dysmorphia is an increasingly common condition (around 1% of the population) it is very different because it affects the individual the majority of the time and leads them to have a permanently distorted view of their appearance, to the extent they are convinced that the way they look is abnormal or ugly, even when it isn't. They will spend a great deal of time looking in the mirror critically, or avoiding mirrors completely, and often leads to a strong desire to have cosmetic surgery.
Fuelling these feelings is the constant thought they are unattractive, which is hugely distressing, and depressing, for the person. Even when friends, partners and family members try to convince the person that they look great, the negative thoughts remain overwhelming. In an effort to combat these negative feelings the person tends to obsess over the way they look, spending hours trying to cover up or hide the perceived flaw, which is why more serious manifestations of Body Dysmorphia are categorised as an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and for this reason CBT is often recommended as the treatment of choice. Sometimes deeper issues with their roots in the past can be the cause of the problem, hence longer-term therapies might be more appropriate.