By Katharine Phillips, MD
Body Dysmorphic Disorder affects 1.7% to 2.4% of the general population — about 1 in 50 people. This means that more than 5 million people to about 7.5 million people in the United States alone have BDD. BDD is about as common as obsessive-compulsive disorder and more common than disorders such as anorexia nervosa and schizophrenia. (Some earlier studies found lower prevalence rates of BDD in the general population, but the more recent studies that found prevalence rates of 1.7% to 2.4% were much larger and used better scientific methods.) It’s possible that BDD may be even more common than this, because people with this disorder are often reluctant to reveal their BDD symptoms to others.
BDD also affects an even higher proportion of people who are seen in various health care settings (e.g., cosmetic surgery patients, cosmetic dental patients, and adult orthodontia patients).
Some of these studies also asked how common other psychiatric disorders were among the people they studied and found that even more people had BDD than had other disorders that are considered to be common, such as social anxiety disorder (social phobia) and obsessive-compulsive disorder.