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Psychopharmacol Bull. 1994;30(2):179-86.

A comparison of delusional and nondelusional body dysmorphic disorder in 100 cases.

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  • 1Personality Disorder and Psychosocial Research Program, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA.


A controversial issue that was debated for DSM-IV is whether body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)--a preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance--can be psychotic. BDD is classified separately from its delusional counterpart (delusional disorder, somatic type) in DSM-IV, but does it have a psychotic variant that overlaps with, and may even be the same diagnostic entity as, its delusional disorder variant? One hundred consecutive patients with DSM-III-R-defined BDD or its delusional variant were assessed with a semistructured interview, the Structured Clinical Inverview for DSM-III-R, and a modified version of the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). The 48 patients with nondelusional BDD were compared with the 52 patients with delusional BDD (i.e., delusional disorder, somatic type). The two groups did not differ significantly in terms of most variables examined, including demographics, phenomenology, course, associated features, comorbidity, and treatment response. Thus, BDD may have a psychotic subtype that significantly overlaps with, and may even be the same disorder as, its delusional disorder variant. However, delusional subjects had higher total scores on the modified Y-BOCS, suggesting that the delusional variant of BDD may be a more severe form of the disorder. Although preliminary, these findings have implications for BDD's treatment and classification, suggesting that inclusion of a delusional (psychotic) subtype of BDD should be considered for future editions of DSM.

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