Editorials

Body dysmorphic disorder in men

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7320.1015 (Published 03 November 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1015

Psychiatric treatments are usually effective

  1. Katharine A Phillips, director, Body Dysmorphic Program (Katharine_Phillips@Brown.edu),
  2. David J Castle, professorial fellow
  1. Butler Hospital and the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island 02906, USA
  2. Mental Health Research Institute and University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia

    Body image isn't just a women's problem. Many studies reveal that a surprisingly high proportion of men are dissatisfied with, preoccupied with, and even impaired by concerns about their appearance.1 One American study, for example, found that the percentage of men dissatisfied with their overall appearance (43%) has nearly tripled in the past 25 years and that nearly as many men as women are unhappy with how they look.1

    A more severe form of body image disturbance—body dysmorphic disorder or dysmorphophobia—is an underrecognised yet relatively common and severe psychiatric disorder.2 Body dysmorphic disorder affects as many men as women 3 4 and consists of a preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in appearance that causes clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning. Patients with body dysmorphic disorder often present to non-psychiatric physicians, with reported rates of 12% in dermatology settings and 7-15% in cosmetic surgery settings.5 Although the symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder might …

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