Specific Culture and Gender Features
Cultural concerns about physical appearance and the importance of proper physical self-presentation may influence or amplify preoccupations about an imagined physical deformity. Body Dysmorphic Disorder may be equally common in women and in men in outpatient mental health settings.
The prevalence of Body Dysmorphic Disorder in the community is unknown. In clinical mental health settings, reported rates of Body Dysmorphic Disorder in individuals with Anxiety or Depressive Disorders range from under 5% to approximately 40%. In cosmetic surgery and dermatology settings, reported rates of Body Dysmorphic Disorder range from 6% to 15%.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder usually begins during adolescence but can begin during childhood. However, the disorder may not be diagnosed for many years, often because individuals with the disorder are reluctant to reveal their symptoms. The onset may be either gradual or abrupt. The disorder often has a fairly continuous course, with few symptom-free intervals, although the intensity of symptoms may wax and wane over time. The part of the body on which concern is focused may remain the same or may change.