BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER

By Gary M. White, MD


Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a chronic mental illness wherein the afflicted person has concerns with body image, manifested as excessive preoccupation with a perceived defect in physical appearance.

Clinical

There is a preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance. If a slight physical anomaly is present, the person's concern is markedly excessive. Typical are repetitive behaviors (e.g., mirror checking, excessive grooming, skin picking, reassurance seeking) or mental acts (e.g., comparing his or her appearance with that of others) in response to the appearance concerns. The preoccupation causes clinically appreciable distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other functioning. For diagnostic considerations, the preoccupation is not better accounted for by another mental disorder.

One recognized variant is seen in patients who feel that their body is too small or insufficiently muscular.

Epidemiology

The average onset is in the teen years, but the average age of presentation is in the 30's. The degree of insight into their disease is highly variable. A quarter or more of patients are delusional. The frequency of suicide attempts is high, e.g., 22% to 24%. Completed suicide rate is 37 times higher than the general population.

Treatment

References

See also JAAD 2015;73;304 for a discussion of the ethics of treating BDD by a dermatologist.

RegionalDerm

Homepage | FAQs | Use of Images | Contact Dr. White


It is not the intention of RegionalDerm.com to provide specific medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. RegionalDerm.com only intends to provide users with information regarding various medical conditions for educational purposes and will not provide specific medical advice. Information on RegionalDerm.com is not intended as a substitute for seeking medical treatment and you should always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider for diagnosis and for answers to your individual questions. Information contained on RegionalDerm.com should never cause you to disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment. If you live in the United States and believe you are having a medical emergency call 911 immediately.