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Practitioner Review: Assessment and treatment of body dysmorphic disorder in young people.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a relatively common and highly impairing mental disorder that is strikingly underdiagnosed and undertreated in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The only clinical guidelines for the management of BDD in youth were published nearly 20 years ago, when empirical knowledge was sparse. Fortunately, there has been a surge in research into BDD over the last 10 years, shedding important insights into the phenomenology, epidemiology, assessment and treatment of the disorder in young people. This review aimed to provide an overview of recent research developments of relevance to clinicians and healthcare policymakers. We summarise key findings regarding the epidemiology of BDD in youth, which indicate that the disorder usually develops during teenage years and affects approximately 2% of adolescents at any one point in time. We provide an overview of aetiological research, highlighting that BDD arises from an interplay between genetic and environmental influences. We then focus on screening and assessment strategies, arguing that these are crucial to promote detection and diagnosis of this under-recognised condition. Additionally, we summarise the recommended treatment approaches for BDD in youth, namely cognitive behaviour therapy with or without selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The review concludes by highlighting key knowledge gaps and priorities for future research including, but not limited to, better understanding aetiological factors, long-term consequences and treatment.

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