Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Body dysmorphic disorder patients who loathe appearance often get better, but it could take years

Date:
January 11, 2011
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
A new study by psychiatrists finds evidence that given enough time, patients with body dysmorphic disorder frequently recover and rarely relapse. The surprisingly high rate may be related to patients in prior studies having had especially severe cases of the disease.

In the longest-term study so far to track people with body dysmorphic disorder, a severe mental illness in which sufferers obsess over nonexistent or slight defects in their physical appearance, researchers at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital found high rates of recovery, although recovery can take more than five years.

Related Articles


The results, based on following 15 sufferers of the disease over an eight-year span, appear in the current issue of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.

"Compared to what we expected based on a prior longitudinal study of BDD, there was a surprisingly high recovery rate and a low recurrence rate in the present study," said Andri Bjornsson, first author of the paper and a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He works in the BDD program at Rhode Island Hospital, run by co-author Katharine Phillips, professor of psychiatry and human behavior.

After statistical adjustments, the recovery rate for sufferers in the study over eight years was 76 percent and the recurrence rate was 14 percent. While a few sufferers recovered within two years, only about half had recovered after five years.

The subjects were a small group diagnosed with the disorder out of hundreds of people participating in the Harvard/Brown Anxiety Research Project (HARP). Study co-author Martin Keller, professor of psychiatry and human behavior and principal investigator of the HARP research program which has been ongoing for more than 20 years, said that because the BDD sufferers were identified through this broader anxiety study, rather than being recruited specifically because they had been diagnosed with BDD, they generally had more subtle cases of the disorder than people in other BDD studies. In comparing the HARP study with the prior longitudinal study of BDD, it is possible that the high recovery rate in the HARP study is due to participants having less severe BDD on average.

In fact, despite the sometimes-debilitating nature of the disorder, a third of those in this study were working full-time.

Acknowledging that many doctors are unfamiliar with BDD or may even be skeptical about the disorder, Keller said doctors should consider the light that these findings shed on the clinical progress of the illness.

"We want to make people aware of BDD -- aware that it exists and that it's a real mental illness," said Keller. "These people should be assessed very carefully and steered toward treatment very quickly."

In addition to Bjornsson, Phillips and Keller, other authors include Ingrid Dyck, Ethan Moitra, Robert L. Stout, and Risa B. Weisberg.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andri S. Bjornsson, Ingrid Dyck, Ethan Moitra, Robert L. Stout, Risa B. Weisberg, Martin B. Keller, Katharine A. Phillips. The Clinical Course of Body Dysmorphic Disorder in the Harvard/Brown Anxiety Research Project (HARP). The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 2011; 199 (1): 55 DOI: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31820448f7

Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Body dysmorphic disorder patients who loathe appearance often get better, but it could take years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110110130932.htm>.
Brown University. (2011, January 11). Body dysmorphic disorder patients who loathe appearance often get better, but it could take years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110110130932.htm
Brown University. "Body dysmorphic disorder patients who loathe appearance often get better, but it could take years." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110110130932.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins