Body Dysmorphic Disorder symptoms improve, relapse preventable with sustained medication

Posted on April 12, 2016

Photo: flickr

BDD is an often-chronic mental illness in which people focus intensively on perceived physical flaws, which to others appear minor or even nonexistent. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that is tailored to BDD and certain types of antidepressant medication called serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) often alleviate symptoms. Until this study, no research existed to verify that medication was effective in preventing a relapse of symptoms after medication is suspended.

"This research yielded clinically important data about BDD, a common, often-chronic and understudied illness in need of more evidence-based treatment," said Katharine Phillips, M.D., director of the BDD program at Rhode Island Hospital. "We showed that the risk of relapse can be substantially reduced by continuing effective medication and also that the continuation of medication after the acute period can further improve symptoms."

Phillips and Wilhelm are currently conducting a study that is comparing the effectiveness of two different kinds of therapy for people with BDD: CBT and supportive talk therapy. Participants are now being enrolled for the study. Those who are interested in learning more about the study can visit the Rhode Island Hospital BDD Program's website at RhodeIslandHospital.org/bdd.


Category(s):Other, Self-Criticism, Self-Esteem

Source material from American Journal of Psychiatry


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