CBT for body dysmorphia
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an often-severe disorder that usually begins during early adolescence and appears to be common in youth. BDD consists of preoccupation with a nonexistent or slight defect(s) in physical appearance that causes clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning; the symptoms are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., anorexia nervosa). BDD is characterized by substantial impairment in psychosocial functioning and markedly high rates of suicidality.
However, despite its severity and description for more than a century, BDD remains underrecognized in both youth and adults.
Because BDD usually begins during early adolescence, is often chronic, and causes substantial morbidity in youth, early intervention is critical. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the best tested and most promising psychosocial treatment for adults with BDD. However, CBT has not been developed for or tested in youth.
In fact, no evidence-based psychosocial treatment of any type is available for youth with this common and severe illness. Thus, there is a pressing need for an efficacious psychosocial treatment for this age group. A BDD treatment practice guideline from the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence underscores the paucity of treatment research on BDD and calls for more treatment research, especially in youth.
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