Associated behaviours

More than 90 per cent of patients perform one or more compulsive and often time-consuming behaviours, the usual intent of which is to examine, improve, or hide the perceived defect. The most common behaviours are comparing themselves with others, checking in the mirror, excessive grooming (e.g. applying make-up, shaving, or hairstyling), camouflaging (e.g. with a hat, clothes, or make-up), seeking reassurance or attempting to convince others of the 'defect's' ugliness, skin picking, dieting, excessive exercising, and seeking surgical, dermatological, and other non-psychiatric medical treatment. However, BDD behaviours are virtually unlimited. One man who worried about hair loss, for example, searched his pillow each morning for hair, saved those he found in a plastic bag, and developed complex mathematical formulas to determine the rate of hair loss. Some people compulsively cut their hair, trying to make it exactly even or 'just right'; this can leave them with little hair and lead them to wear turbans or wigs, which they may also cut.

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