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The Disease of Imagined Ugliness: An Introduction To Diagnosis and Treatment

Monday, March 09, 2020

Workshop Description

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a little known and poorly understood but common and often severe or even life threatening mental disorder. It is often described as the disease of imagined ugliness. Individuals with BDD have a preoccupation or obsession with one or more aspects of their body or appearance. They will typically describe themselves as ugly, unattractive, deformed, and/or horrifying. The flaws that are the focus of obsessive concern are judged by others as non-existent or minor. The body parts or aspects of appearance that is the focus may include any part of the body, may be focused on a single or multiple flaws, and may change over time. Individuals with BDD perform repetitive behaviors, (compulsions) in an attempt to cope with the distress associated with their concerns. This can include efforts to disguise or change the feature, mirror checking, comparison with other people, seeking reassurance, reviewing photographs, and seeking treatments from dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons to fix the flaw. DSM-5 includes BDD in the category of Obsessive-Compulsive and related disorders. Estimates of prevalence approach 3% and the occurrence is roughly equal in males and females. BDD is commonly co-morbid with depression and social anxiety and may be overlooked in individuals presenting with these overlapping disorders. This presentation will review DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, symptoms and other features of the presentation of the disorder, useful approaches to assessment, and evidence based treatment including cognitive behavioral and psychopharmacological approaches. 

*This presentation is an introductory level workshop for those with little experience with BDD and who work with adolescents and adults.

Learning Objectives

1. Attendees will be able to describe the typical presentation of BDD, and recite diagnostic criteria.
2. Attendees will be able to list and describe the main components and treatment goals of the evidence-based treatment approaches available for BDD.
3. Attendees will be able to discuss the risks associated with BDD, including the risk of suicide, and adverse responses to treatment with cosmetic surgery or other medical interventions.

Presenter Bio

Dr Claiborn is a Diplomate in Counseling Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology, a Diplomate and Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and is licensed as a psychologist in 5 states. He is a member of the Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board of the International Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation. He has presented internationally on CBT and OCD and BDD. He is first author of The BDD Workbook.

This program is sponsored by the New Hampshire Psychological Association.  NHPA is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  NHPA maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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