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G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2014 Aug;149(4):447-52.

Body dysmorphic disorder: beyond skin deep.

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  • 1Dermatology, New Jersey Medical School Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, USA -


Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a psychiatric illness that primarily affects adolescents and young adults of both sexes. Patients have a distorted self-image, which manifests as a preoccupation with slight or imagined defects in the face, nose, skin, hair or any part of the body that ultimately interferes with daily functioning. It is a relatively common yet long unrecognized problem. Patients often seek multiple physician assessments for their perceived defects and request cosmetic procedures. Early intervention can prevent a cycle of multiple surgeries, as the outcome is usually poor and may lead to exacerbation of symptoms, anger and litigation. BDD is a disabling, and even life-threatening, condition; it can lead to major depression and suicidal ideation. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and cognitive behavioral therapy are the mainstay of treatment and are beneficial in most patients. A multidisciplinary approach is strongly recommended.

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