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Cognitive behaviour therapy for adolescents with body dysmorphic disorder: a case series

Georgina Krebs, Cynthia Turner, Isobel Heyman, David Mataix-Cols
Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy 2012, 40 (4): 452-61

BACKGROUND: Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is relatively common in adolescents and can have serious negative consequences. However, the treatment of BDD in young people has received virtually no empirical attention to date, and the evidence-base for cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) in this population is limited to a small number of single case reports.

AIMS: This study aimed to investigate treatment outcomes associated with CBT, primarily consisting of exposure and response prevention, in a group of young people with BDD.

METHOD: Six adolescents with a diagnosis of BDD received a course of developmentally appropriate CBT for BDD with parental involvement. BDD and depressive symptoms were evaluated at pre-treatment, post-treatment and at 3- or 6-month follow-up, using the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale for BDD (BDD-YBOCS) and the Beck Depression Inventory-Youth, respectively.

RESULTS: Scores on the BDD-YBOCS indicated a 44% improvement in BDD symptoms at post-treatment and a 57% improvement at follow-up for the group. Considering response as a ≥ 30% reduction in BDD-YBOCS score, four of the six adolescents were classified as treatment responders. Improvements in depressive symptoms were observed among the treatment responders, but not the non-responders.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate the potential efficacy of CBT, including exposure and response prevention for adolescents with BDD, and highlight the need for further controlled trials.

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