BACKGROUND Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) consists of a preoccupation with an 'imagined' defect in appearance which causes significant distress or impairment in functioning. There has been little previous research into BDD. This study replicates a survey from the USA in a UK population and evaluates specific measures of BDD.
METHOD Cross-sectional interview survey of 50 patients who satisfied DSM-IV criteria for BDD as their primary disorder.
RESULTS The average age at onset was late adolescence and a large proportion of patients were either single or divorced. Three-quarters of the sample were female. There was a high degree of comorbidity with the most common additional Axis l diagnosis being either a mood disorder (26%), social phobia (16%) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (6%). Twenty-four per cent had made a suicide attempt in the past. Personality disorders were present in 72% of patients, the most common being paranoid, avoidant and obsessive-compulsive.
CONCLUSIONS BDD patients had a high associated comorbidity and previous suicide attempts. BDD is a chronic handicapping disorder and patients are not being adequately identified or treated by health professionals.