Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is defined in
DSM-IV as a preoccupation with an 'imagined' defect in one’s
appearance. Alternatively, where there is a slight physical
anomaly, the person’s concern is markedly excessive.
BDD is characterised by severe distress or
handicap, yet it remains a relatively hidden disorder. BDD
patients have a poor quality of life, are socially isolated,
depressed and at high risk of committing suicide. They often
have needless dermatological treatment and cosmetic surgery and
engage in time-consuming rituals.
The condition is easily missed and
stigmatised. It may also be trivialised. The majority of patients
with BDD do not volunteer their symptoms and therefore, although
the diagnosis is relatively easy to make, it is often
In this module we will provide an introduction to the
phenomenology of BDD, and the second module will go on to discuss
diagnosis and treatment of the disorder.
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