Treating body dysmorphic disorder with medication: Evidence, misconceptions, and a suggested approach

Katharine A. Phillips, Eric Hollander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

100 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a relatively common and often disabling disorder with high morbidity and mortality. Both psychotropic medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are considered first-line treatments for BDD, and medication treatment is often essential for more severely ill and suicidal patients. In this practical overview of the pharmacotherapy of BDD, we briefly describe BDD's clinical features, associated morbidity, and how to recognize and diagnose BDD. We describe the importance of forming a therapeutic alliance with the patient, the need for psychoeducation, and other essential groundwork for successful treatment of BDD. We review available pharmacotherapy research, with a focus on serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, or SRIs), which are currently considered the medication of choice for BDD. Many patients have substantial improvement in core BDD symptoms, psychosocial functioning, quality of life, suicidality, and other aspects of BDD when treated with appropriate pharmacotherapy that targets BDD symptoms. We also discuss practical issues such as dosing, length of treatment, and potential side effects associated with the use of SRIs. In addition, we discuss pharmacotherapy approaches that can be tried if SRI treatment alone is not adequately helpful. Finally, some misconceptions about pharmacotherapy, gaps in knowledge about BDD's treatment, and the need for additional research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-27
Number of pages15
JournalBody Image
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

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Body Dysmorphic Disorders
Drug Therapy
Therapeutics
Morbidity
Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
Cognitive Therapy
Research
Quality of Life

Keywords

  • Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
  • Delusional disorder
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Psychotropic medication
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Treating body dysmorphic disorder with medication : Evidence, misconceptions, and a suggested approach. / Phillips, Katharine A.; Hollander, Eric.

In: Body Image, Vol. 5, No. 1, 03.2008, p. 13-27.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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