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Quality of life in body dysmorphic disorder

  • Waguih William IsHak (a1) (a2), Michael A. Bolton (a3), Jean-Charles Bensoussan (a1), George V. Dous (a1), Trang T. Nguyen (a4), Allycin L. Powell-Hicks (a1), Jennifer E. Gardner (a5) and Kimberly M. Ponton (a2)...


Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) has a significant impact on the patients’ quality of life (QOL). This is an initial literature review of QOL in patients with BDD, examining the extent of QOL impairments, the impact of psychiatric comorbidity on QOL, and the effect of treatment on QOL in BDD. Studies were identified through PubMed, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO searches from 1960–2011 using the keywords: “quality of life,” “body dysmorphic disorder,” “dysmorphophobia,” and “body image.” Studies included in this review were selected using specific criteria by two authors reaching consensus. Most BDD research studies have used symptom severity measures mainly to study BDD and its treatments. BBD with or without comorbidities is significantly associated with poor QOL and functioning. Studies show that treatment of BDD, either by psychopharmacological treatments such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or cognitive behavior therapy, might have positive effects on QOL, although these results need to be replicated in larger studies. In conclusion, QOL could add significant value to the assessment of BDD if used as one of the primary measures in research and clinical work in BDD, by providing more information and clearer understanding on the impact of the illness on satisfaction with activities of daily life and overall sense of wellbeing before and after treatment.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Waguih William IsHak, MD, FAPA, Director, Psychiatry Residency Training Program, and Medical Student Education in Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC), and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and CSMC, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8730 Alden Drive, Thalians W-157, Los Angeles, CA 90048. *This information is correct. (Email


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The authors would like to express their deep appreciation to Katharine Phillips, MD, for her feedback during the early development of this manuscript, and for her groundbreaking work in body dysmorphic disorder.



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