Sufferers become obsessed by perceived – but in reality almost non-existent – flaws in their appearance. A specific area usually becomes the target – their nose, hair, or weight. Dieting, weight lifting, excessive exercise, tanning, measuring, camouflaging techniques, and agoraphobia are just some of the cruel behaviours associated with the disorder as sufferers try to hide or fix a flaw that doesn’t exist, or barely exists. It can ruin lives.
Anxiety Australia estimates 1-2 per cent of Australians suffer from BDD. While those sufferes represent the more extreme end of body dissatisfaction, figures reported by the Australian Psychological Society show the extent of general body dissatisfaction in our society is alarming, with more than 70 per cent of Australian girls wishing to be thinner and an equivalent number of boys wanting to be either thinner or bigger.