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Body Image. 2005 Dec;2(4):401-5.

Social anxiety in body dysmorphic disorder.


Although clinical impressions suggest that patients with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) experience distress in social situations, social anxiety in BDD has received little investigation. This study examined social anxiety in 81 patients with BDD and change in social anxiety with pharmacotherapy. Subjects completed the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale (SADS) and were assessed with measures of BDD symptomatology. Participants in a placebo-controlled fluoxetine trial completed measures at baseline and endpoint. The mean SADS score was 1.3 SD units higher than nonclinical sample means but consistent with other clinical sample means. Social anxiety was significantly correlated with BDD severity. Greater depressive symptoms as well as comorbid avoidant personality disorder, but not comorbid social phobia, were also associated with higher SADS scores. Social anxiety did not improve more with fluoxetine than placebo, yet it improved significantly more in fluoxetine responders than in nonresponders. Understanding social anxiety in BDD has implications for reducing rates of misdiagnosis and treatment dropout.

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