Also known as body dysmorphia, body dysmorphic disorder is a relatively common mental health condition. Currently, it affects between 1.7 and 2.4 percent of the population, or 1 in every 50 people. In the United States alone, it’s believed that between 5 million and 7.5 million individuals have body dysmorphic disorder.
However, these statistics may underestimate the prevalence of the condition. Many people with body dysmorphic disorder believe in the existence of their flaws so completely that they don’t realize they have a mental health disorder. In other cases, feelings of guilt may prevent a person from talking about their condition, even with close friends and family members. This shame can also keep people from disclosing their condition to a medical professional. While most people with the condition develop it in adolescence, many live with it for 15 years before seeking professional help, according to the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation.
It’s crucial that people with body dysmorphic disorder receive treatment sooner rather than later. Over time, the condition can have a significant impact on physical health and emotional well-being. If left untreated, many people with body dysmorphic disorder may also develop co-occurring substance use disorders.