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Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) consists of a preoccupation with an ‘imagined’ defect in appearance which causes significant distress or impairment in functioning. There has been little previous research into BDD. This study replicates a survey from the USA in a UK population and evaluates specific measures of BDD.
Cross-sectional interview survey of 50 patients who satisfied DSM–IV criteria for BDD as their primary disorder.
The average age at onset was late adolescence and a large proportion of patients were either single or divorced. Three-quarters of the sample were female. There was a high degree of comorbidity with the most common additional Axis I diagnosis being either a mood disorder (26%), social phobia (16%) or obsessive–compulsive disorder (6%). Twenty-four per cent had made a suicide attempt in the past. Personality disorders were present in 72% of patients, the most common being paranoid, avoidant and obsessive–compulsive.
BDD patients had a high associated comorbidity and previous suicide attempts. BDD is a chronic handicapping disorder and patients are not being adequately identified or treated by health professionals.
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