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Treatment Recommendations Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Matthew D. Jacofsky, Psy.D., Melanie T. Santos, Psy.D., Sony Khemlani-Patel, Ph.D. & Fugen Neziroglu, Ph.D. of the Bio Behavioral Institute, edited by C. E. Zupanick, Psy.D.

Although similar to treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, treatment for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) requires some additional treatment considerations. People with BDD tend to have higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts. They can also be more difficult to engage in treatment than people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Thus, treatment for BDD may proceed at a slower pace. Nonetheless, there are several effective treatments:

hand mirrorCognitive therapy may focus on strategies to reduce the characteristic hopelessness and depression, prior to jumping into exposure and response prevention (ERP). People with BDD commonly require more intensive cognitive restructuring than people with OCD (Phillips et al., 2010).

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has also demonstrated promising results for BDD. Therapy participants are asked to examine the enormous value they place on their personal attractiveness, to the exclusion of other values that are important to them. Having identified other important values, therapy participants commit to actively pursuing a life that models these values.

Usually psychotherapy is enhanced by the addition of several different adjunct therapies. The specific selection of additional therapies is determined by individual needs and circumstances. These additional therapies are: