Rate of body dysmorphic disorder in dermatology patients

K A Phillips, R G Dufresne, C S Wilkel, C C Vittorio
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2000, 42 (3): 436-41

BACKGROUND: Dermatologists appear to be the physicians most often seen by patients with the psychiatric condition body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a distressing or impairing preoccupation with a nonexistent or slight defect in appearance. The frequency of BDD among patients seeking dermatologic treatment is unknown, however.

OBJECTIVE: This study determined the percentage of patients seeking dermatologic treatment who screened positive for BDD.

METHODS: A validated self-report questionnaire and a reliable defect severity scale were used to determine the rate of BDD in 268 patients seeking dermatologic treatment.

RESULTS: A total of 11.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.0%-15.8%) of patients screened positive for BDD. Rates were similar in a community general dermatology setting (14.4% [95% CI, 8.5%-20.3%]) and a university cosmetic surgery setting (10. 0% [95% CI, 6.1%-13.9%]).

CONCLUSION: BDD appears relatively common among patients seeking dermatologic treatment. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to assist dermatologists in identifying these potentially high-risk patients.

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