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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 47 (2005) 1, 21 - 27

Review article

Body dysmorphic disorder: an overview

N.C.C. Vulink, D. Denys

background  Persons suffering from debilitating psychiatric disease known as body dysmorphic disorder (bdd) are preoccupied with imagined or slight defects in their appearance. Over the past few years there has been increased interest in the prevalence and neurobiology of body dysmorphic disorder.

objective  To provide an overview of the literature on body dysmorphic disorder.

method  We searched the literature from 1977 up to the present using Psychinfo and PubMed on the basis of the key words 'body dysmorphic disorder', 'dysmorphobia' and 'somatoform disorder'.

results  Body dysmorphic disorder is an important psychiatric disease with a prevalence ranging from 0.7% to 13%. Both the serotonergic and the dopaminergic systems are involved and also structural changes can occur in the brain. Patients with body dysmorphic disorder benefit from psychiatric treatment with seretonergic re-uptake inhibitors and from cognitive behavioural therapy.

conclusion   Since persons with body dysmorphic disorder are more likely to attend plastic surgery clinics and dermatology clinics than psychiatric clinics, their disorder is often unrecognised or overlooked. Early diagnosis is important since good psychiatric treatment is available.

 

keywords body dysmorphic disorder, dysmorphobia, somatoform disorders