Get Alert
Please Wait... Processing your request... Please Wait.
You must sign in to sign-up for alerts.

Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.

Special Articles   |    
Body dysmorphic disorder: the distress of imagined ugliness
Am J Psychiatry 1991;148:1138-1149.
text A A A
PDF of the full text article.

OBJECTIVE: Body dysmorphic disorder, a preoccupation with an imagined defect in physical appearance, has a rich tradition in European psychiatry but has been largely neglected in the United States. Because this little-known disorder is probably more common than is generally realized and can have profound consequences, the author reviews its history, clinical features, and possible relationship to other psychiatric disorders. DATA COLLECTION: Data sources consisted of the MEDLINE database and relevant references in articles obtained from this search. Of 145 articles and books obtained, 100 were selected for inclusion in this review on the basis of how closely they conformed to the concept of body dysmorphic disorder as defined in DSM-III-R and how substantially they contributed to an understanding of the disorder's history, clinical features, or nosologic status. FINDINGS: Body dysmorphic disorder has been colorfully described in the European literature for more than a century. Although its concerns might sound trivial, this disorder can lead to social isolation (including being housebound), occupational dysfunction, unnecessary cosmetic surgery, and suicide. The most commonly associated psychiatric disorder appears to be depression. Although a definitive treatment does not exist, preliminary evidence suggests that serotonergic antidepressant medications may be useful. Whether body dysmorphic disorder is related to other psychiatric disorders, such as psychosis, mood disorder, social phobia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, is unclear at this time. CONCLUSIONS: More research on the nosology, clinical features, and treatment response of body dysmorphic disorder is important, given the distress and impairment this often secret disorder can cause.

Abstract Teaser
Figures in this Article

Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In to Access Full Content
Sign in via Athens (What is this?)
Athens is a service for single sign-on which enables access to all of an institution's subscriptions on- or off-site.
Not a subscriber?

Subscribe Now/Learn More

PsychiatryOnline subscription options offer access to the DSM-5 library, books, journals, CME, and patient resources. This all-in-one virtual library provides psychiatrists and mental health professionals with key resources for diagnosis, treatment, research, and professional development.

Need more help? PsychiatryOnline Customer Service may be reached by emailing PsychiatryOnline@psych.org or by calling 800-368-5777 (in the U.S.) or 703-907-7322 (outside the U.S.).




CME Activity

There is currently no quiz available for this resource. Please click here to go to the CME page to find another.
Submit a Comments
Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discertion of APA editorial staff.

* = Required Field
(if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
Example: John Doe

Web of Science® Times Cited: 240

Related Content
Manual of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 7th Edition > Chapter 1.  >
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry, 5th Edition > Chapter 13.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 39.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 39.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 39.  >
Topic Collections
Psychiatric News
PubMed Articles