Women and men who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder are often misunderstood, but it’s an issue that affects many people regardless of gender or age, and at least one out of every five people will be affected in their lifetimes.
If you’re among the millions of people with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), there are plenty of books to help you overcome this disorder and live a more fulfilling life.
Check out these 14 best books on body dysmorphic disorder to help you overcome BDD today!
These books are my favorite when it comes to dealing with BDD.
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List of the Best Books on Body Dysmorphic Disorder
1. Reflections on Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Stories of Courage, Determination and Hope
By Nicole Schnackenberg Sergio Petro
Reflections on Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Stories of Courage, Determination and Hope by Nicole Schnackenberg Sergio Petro – In Reflections, Sergio Petro tells his story of living with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and shares stories from others who have struggled with it as well. Whether you suffer from BDD or have a friend or family member who does, Reflections is a must-read book that provides insight into how it feels to live with BDD, what life can be like when you’re suffering and what life can be like once you’ve conquered your disorder.
If you know someone who is struggling with their appearance and looks in mirrors constantly or fixates on small flaws that other people would never notice, consider giving them a copy of Reflections.
2. The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder
By Katharine A. Phillips
The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder by Katharine A. Phillips — This is likely one of the best books you’ll find for an introduction into body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Dr. Phillips covers everything from genetic and biological factors that may be related to BDD, clinical presentation, how someone with BDD feels about their perceived appearance, what a therapist can do about it and more.
If you’re looking for a good place to start learning about body dysmorphia and treatment options available, The Broken Mirror is a great resource. It’s also worth noting that Amazon includes several other titles in their list of best books on body dysmorphia so feel free to check those out as well if The Broken Mirror doesn’t suit your tastes.
3. Perfectly Imperfect: Compassionate Strategies to Cultivate a Positive Body Image
By Amy Harman
Perfectly Imperfect: Compassionate Strategies to Cultivate a Positive Body Image by Amy Harman – This book is a must-read for those who struggle with body image. Harman shares how she learned to find peace in her own skin, and how you can do so as well. She covers topics such as self-esteem, changing toxic relationships, and understanding your body type. No matter where you are in your relationship with your body, reading Perfectly Imperfect will help you gain insight into what has shaped your view of yourself. After reading it myself, I began doing things like writing down compliments people gave me instead of tearing them up or tossing them away immediately.
4. The BDD Workbook: Overcome Body Dysmorphic Disorder and End Body Image Obsessions
By James Claiborn, Cherlene Pedrick
The BDD Workbook: Overcome Body Dysmorphic Disorder and End Body Image Obsessions (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by James Claiborn, Cherlene Pedrick – Dr. Claiborn is a psychiatrist who has devoted his life to helping people with body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD. He draws from decades of experience in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other modalities to help readers overcome their obsessive thoughts about imagined imperfections in their appearance.
In these pages, he helps them understand where these worries come from, what they mean and how they can overcome them with CBT techniques based on mindfulness and exposure response prevention (ERP). The material is very easy to understand even for those who aren’t mental health professionals. Anyone struggling with an eating disorder will find great use for it as well, because these problems share common traits and sometimes seem similar.
5. Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder
By Katharine A. Phillips
Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder by Katharine A. Phillips — Learning how to overcome your body dysmorphia is a difficult task. This book will give you insight into what causes these irrational thoughts, and teach you coping mechanisms for when those feelings begin to take over. It’s an important read for people with BDD as well as anyone trying to understand it from a family member or friend perspective. The TLC Protocol: A Step-by-Step Guide for Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder by Christopher R. Hauff: If you have experienced first-hand how debilitating body dysmorphia can be, then you know that professional help is necessary.
6. The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder
By Nicole Schnackenberg, Amita Jassi, Benedetta Monzani
The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder: How to Support Your Child, Teen or Young Adult by Nicole Schnackenberg, Amita Jassi, Benedetta Monzani – Review of one of 14 best books on body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) intended for parents, specifically written by mothers of children and teens with BDD. This book is also helpful for mental health practitioners who work with parents and families of young people with body dysmorphia.
The information in The Parents’ Guide is up-to-date and clearly written, making it a valuable resource for professionals working in youth mental health. There are tips throughout that can be used by practitioners as part of their assessment process and/or incorporated into parent therapy sessions with clients who have body dysmorphia.
7. The Body Image Workbook: An Eight-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks
By Thomas F. Cash
The Body Image Workbook: An Eight-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Thomas F. Cash – If you are struggling with your body image, or if you know someone who is, Cash’s self-help workbook offers an eight-step program that helps people develop a healthy body image. Body Image Workbook offers information and exercises designed to help readers improve their self-image. It focuses on critical aspects of body image such as acceptance and authenticity.
The book shows readers how to challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones in order to build a healthy self-image. Step by step, Cash guides readers through various exercises that make it possible for people with poor body images to feel happier about themselves. While Cash’s exercises offer interesting ways for changing one’s perception of their bodies, they may not be applicable for every reader.
8. Shattered Image: My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder
By Brian Cuban
Shattered Image: My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder by Brian Cuban — Cuban’s book chronicles his struggles with body dysmorphia, including both physical and mental abuse that he endured at different points in his life. In some ways, though, Shattered Image could also be considered a more general guide for people with BDD. The book is written for men as well as women, it doesn’t shy away from addressing many of the sexuality issues that can be common among those who suffer from dysmorphia, and Cuban has much to say about recovery in general. It’s an excellent starting point if you or someone you love is struggling with BDD.
9. Parental Guide On Body Dismorphic Disorder – The Perfect Starters Guide
By Genevieve Rae
Parental Guide On Body Dismorphic Disorder – The Perfect Starters Guide by Genevieve Rae — This great piece of work is one of its kind. It is written by an author who was once suffering from severe body dysmorphic disorder. Parental Guide On Body Dismorphic Disorder will help you explore how your child can get better without making him/her feel discouraged about it. The book discusses all that a parent needs to know about their child’s disorder, and also covers ways in which they can find comfort in themselves and overcome it altogether.
This quick read explains clearly everything you need to know regarding body dysmorphic disorder, most common causes behind it and many useful tips with regard to what parents should do in such case. A must-read for all parents and above 18 years old children of all types affected by any sort of mental illness like anxiety, OCD or depression.
10. Body Image Problems and Body Dysmorphic Disorder
By Chloe Catchpole, Annemarie O’Connor
Body Image Problems and Body Dysmorphic Disorder: The Definitive Treatment and Recovery Approach (Pulling the Trigger) by Chloe Catchpole, Annemarie O’Connor — If you’re a fan of self-help books, then you’ll want to check out Body Image Problems and Body Dysmorphic Disorder by Chloe Catchpole and Annemarie O’Connor. It was published in June 2009 by Pulling The Trigger Publishing.
Written for people who suffer from body dysmorphia, it’s also great for friends or family members who are concerned about a loved one’s BDD symptoms.
The aim is to help sufferers see that they don’t need invasive plastic surgery to feel beautiful, because they already are. Step-by-step advice is given on how sufferers can learn to love their bodies and accept them as they are. There are seven steps detailed in each chapter for overcoming body image problems and developing a positive body image.
11. The Skin You’re In: 4 Secrets to Stop Self Loathing and Start Self Loving
By Monette Cash
The Skin You’re In: 4 Secrets to Stop Self Loathing and Start Self Loving by Monette Cash – Monette Cash, a licensed psychotherapist and author of The Skin You’re In, describes herself as a combination shrink, cheerleader and kick in-the-pants. As someone who has struggled with low self-esteem and body image issues her entire life, she feels that instead of trying to change one’s appearance, it is far more effective — and positive — to focus on building your self-esteem.
What does loving yourself look like? She says it can be small things such as wearing clothing that makes you feel good about yourself or making an effort to reach out to others when you are feeling down. Her primary message: Love yourself no matter what.
12. Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder
By Alex Clarke
Overcoming Body Image Problems including Body Dysmorphic Disorder by Alex Clarke — This book is a very accessible guide to understanding body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), with case studies and helpful advice. This book has been recommended by The NHS and offers practical advice on how to manage symptoms of BDD, as well as more information about other body image disorders.
If you are just looking for help coping with an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, then see Overcoming Eating Disorders. Alex Clarke is a psychiatrist at Nightingale Hospital in London and also runs private psychotherapy clinics in Harley Street and Sussex. He was included in an Independent on Sunday survey of Britain’s best doctors for his work treating depression and anxiety problems.
13. Body Dysmorphic Disorder – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References
By Icon Health Publications
Body Dysmorphic Disorder – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References by Icon Health Publications — This book provides a comprehensive review of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), examining in detail its history, clinical manifestations, assessment, and treatment. It contains entries related to diagnosis and treatment, as well as suggested resources for further reading. A summary with tables and references is included at the end of each chapter.
Key features include:
- The latest research into causes and treatments
- Includes internet references for further information for readers
- Summaries throughout with tables
- A glossary of terms in body dysmorphic disorder.
14. Stop Obsessing!: How to Overcome Your Obsessions and Compulsions
By Edna B. Foa, Reid Wilson
Stop Obsessing!: How to Overcome Your Obsessions and Compulsions by Edna B. Foa, Reid Wilson — There are few disorders that are as isolating as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). It’s hard enough to cope with your obsessions and compulsions, but when no one else understands what you’re going through—and they often don’t—it can be even harder. This book is designed specifically for people who suffer from body dysmorphia, explaining how many of these behaviors started and how they can be stopped in their tracks.
The writing is clear and concise, while also being friendly and compassionate, so it can also help you open up about your struggle with those closest to you. You will learn a number of new strategies for dealing with your symptoms, as well as other ways of working through those symptoms without harming yourself or others.
Everyone has some level of insecurities about their looks. But for people with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), these feelings can be overwhelming, and may affect their ability to work or socialize. Learn more about BDD from these FAQs.
What is body dysmorphic disorder?
People with BDD feel they are not as attractive as others perceive them to be. They focus on an imagined defect in their appearance that no one else notices, and spend hours each day thinking about it.
What causes BDD?
There is no clear cause of BDD, but it is thought that several factors—including genetic predisposition, environment and brain chemistry—may play a role.
What are symptoms of BDD?
The main symptom of BDD is excessive preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in your physical features. For example, you might think you have a large nose when others do not notice anything wrong with it. In severe cases, you might avoid social situations because you believe people will notice your defect and judge you negatively.
How common is BDD?
It’s difficult to know how many people have BDD because many go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. However, studies suggest that 2% to 4% of people have BDD at some point in their lives. Can anyone get BDD? Anyone can develop BDD, but it affects men and women equally. Although most people with BDD start developing symptoms during adolescence or early adulthood, children as young as 5 years old have been diagnosed with BDD.
Are there treatments for BDD?
Yes, there are treatments available for those who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to treat BDD. This type of therapy helps you identify negative thoughts and then replace them with positive ones. Other types of psychotherapy can also help manage BDD, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and acceptance-and-commitment therapy (ACT). Medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs may also be prescribed by your doctor if other therapies don’t work well enough.
What happens after treatment?
If you receive proper treatment, BDD symptoms should improve over time. If left untreated, however, BDD can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Is there a way to prevent BDD?
To date, there is no known way to prevent BDD. Many people with body dysmorphic disorder seek cosmetic surgery or dermatological procedures hoping that it will improve their self-image; however, research suggests that cosmetic procedures may actually make matters worse.
Should I see my primary care physician about BDD?
Yes, it’s important to see your primary care physician if you experience any of these symptoms. Your doctor can help diagnose whether you have BDD and begin appropriate treatment options.
Do you need to take medication?
Treatment is tailored to each person based on his or her individual needs. Sometimes, people with BDD may not need to take medication. Instead, a therapist can help you learn healthy ways to cope with your feelings and behaviors. Sometimes, a combination of therapy and medication is needed.
What resources are available for people with BDD?
NEDA provides information and support to people with eating disorders, including BDD. NEDA also offers a free, confidential helpline: 800-931-2237. NAMI provides information and support to people with mental illnesses, including BDD. NAMI also offers free helplines: 888-950-NAMI (6264) or 877-990-8585.
What is the origin and meaning of word “dysmorphia”?
The English word “dysmorphia” originates from a Greek term used by Plato, meaning imperfect sight. In general, visual hallucinations are abnormal perceptions in vision or hearing. For example, see phantom limb syndrome, Charles Bonnet syndrome and hypnagogia. The terms dysmorphia and illusion refer to a distortion of body image that does not produce hallucinations.
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There is no doubt that reading is a very effective way of learning about body dysmorphic disorder, but how does one choose which book?
When it comes to tackling issues like body dysmorphia, there are so many personal factors involved.
You can visit WebMD’s website if you wish to learn more about BDD.
This means that what works for one person may not work for you.
A good place to start when choosing your first self-help book is at Amazon where customer reviews will tell you exactly what others think of it. If they are critical, you can probably rule out that title. But if they say something along the lines of this was really helpful then you can be fairly sure that it would likely be worth your time and money!