A Proposed Learning Model of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

A Proposed Learning Model of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Fugen Neziroglu and Lauren M. Mancusi

Bio-Behavioral Institute, Great Neck, NY

1. Introduction

While it is common for individuals to have concerns about their appearance, individuals
with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) experience a marked distress that often results in
time-consuming rituals, social anxiety, and depression among other debilitating effects.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a severe and debilitating disorder that is characterized
by a perceived physical defect that causes significant impairments in everyday functioning
(American Psychiatric Association, 2000). BDD was first mention in the late 1800’s (Morselli,
1891). It was described as dysmorphophobia and referred to a strong emotional response
(e.g. anxiety) to certain changes in physical appearance. Body dysmorphic disorder was not
mentioned again until the advent of the third Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental
Disorders (DSM III), in which BDD was listed as a somotaform disorder (American
Psychiatric Association, 1987). While BDD remains classified as a somotaform disorder in
the current edition of the DSM (DSM IV-TR), more recently it has been conceptualized as an
obsessive-compulsive related disorder (OCRD). Like other OCRD, BDD involves symptoms
of obsessions and compulsions.

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