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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2008 Jan-Feb;30(1):67-72. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2007.09.004.

Prevalence and clinical characteristics of body dysmorphic disorder in an adult inpatient setting.

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Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI 02906, USA.



Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a distressing or impairing preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in appearance, is an often-severe, understudied disorder. We determined BDD's prevalence and clinical features on a general adult psychiatric inpatient unit. To our knowledge, only one previous prevalence study has been done in this setting.


One hundred patients completed 3 self-report measures: the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Questionnaire (BDD-Q), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Those who screened positive for BDD were interviewed to confirm DSM-IV BDD and its clinical features. Charts were reviewed for demographic and clinical information.


BDD was diagnosed in 16.0% (95% CI=8.7-23.3%) (n=16) of patients. A high proportion of those with BDD reported that BDD symptoms contributed to suicidality. Patients revealed BDD symptoms to a mean of only 15.1%+/-33.7% lifetime mental health clinicians; only one (6.3%) reported symptoms to his current inpatient psychiatrist. Most did not disclose their symptoms due to embarrassment. Those with BDD were younger (P=.008) and had higher CES-D scores (P=.008). The two groups did not significantly differ on BAI score, demographic characteristics or discharge diagnoses.


BDD is relatively common but underdiagnosed in psychiatric inpatients and is associated with more severe depressive symptoms.

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