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Body Dysmorphic Disorder or Body Image Disorder Has High Success Rate on Treatment

by Dr. Nithin Jayan on  January 27, 2011 at 7:41 PM Health Watch   - G J E 4
Body Dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a type of chronic mental illness in which a person cannot stop thinking about a flaw with his appearance. It is a somatoform or psychological disorder. It is also known as dysmorphophobia, body dysmorphia or dysmorphic syndrome

The physical flaw may be a minor one or a purely imaginary one. It is sometimes called "imagined ugliness". The person affected is so obsessed over their appearance that they seek out cosmetic procedures to try to 'fix' the perceived flaws. None of the procedures will satisfy them.

The condition has been described for more than a century. BDD is becoming more common, is often severe, and is associated with a high suicide attempt rate. However it remains under-recognised and not much of focussed research is available. Recent studies suggest that with enough time, and proper treatment, probability of full recovery from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is high.

Recent  Research - A cohort study examining 514 patients from the Harvard/Brown Anxiety Research Project (HARP) over 8 years was performed. 22 patients with BDD were found to have 76% probability of full recovery. Probability of recurrence after recovery was only 14%. Remission took more than 5 years in many of the cases. This is perhaps the longest-running study to date tracking patients with the disorder.

Most patients are reluctant to spontaneously reveal symptoms of BDD to clinicians. This is because of the undue worry that they will be considered silly or vain for worrying about their appearance.

Treatment options for BDD include Cognitive behavioral therapy and medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on teaching healthy behaviours.

Severe symptoms may warrant psychiatric hospitalization.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any drugs 'specifically' for BDD. Antidepressant drugs like SSRIs appear to be effective though.

The findings of the study are encouraging. Almost near complete Recovery from Body Dysmorphic Disorder can be anticipated.  It's helpful for clinicians to be aware that BDD people can do very well over time. Further studies with larger samples are required  to verify the claims of the present research.

Reference:  The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.

Source: Medindia

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