Navigation Links
New therapy to overcome body dysmorphic disorder

Montreal, June 28, 2010 A nose job to treat a mental health problem? Teeth whitening to overcome a severe anxiety disorder? These are just two procedures that people with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) have traditionally turned to in order to deal with body-related concerns. The excessive use of (and dissatisfaction with) cosmetic treatments, along with obsessive rituals and social isolation, is what scientists from the Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital, affiliated with the University of Montreal, are hoping to fight with a novel therapy to treat BDD.

BDD is not a well-known disease: it is characterized by a significant dissatisfaction with one's appearance, particularly with perceived flaws. Included in the category of obsessive-compulsive disorders, this mental health problem leads to ritual behaviours and social isolation. Although any part of the body may become the subject of these obsessions, those who suffer from BDD most often focus on their skin, eyes, nose, teeth, buttocks, stomach, hair or chest.

Kieron O'Connor, director of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Tic Disorder Studies Centre at Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital, said that people coping with BDD seek out in particular plastic surgeons, orthodontists and esthetic professionals to alleviate their suffering. "However, what they really need is psychological support and assistance," said Dr. O'Connor, who is also a researcher at the University of Montreal Department of Psychiatry and the Universit du Quebec en Outaouais Department of Psychology.

To help people struggling with BDD, Dr. O'Connor and Annie Taillon, a doctoral student in psychology, developed a specialized and innovative cognitive behavioural therapy in collaboration with their team at the Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital. "Our preliminary results are very promising," explained Ms. Taillon. "We observed a clear decrease in appearance-related fixations among participants and a reduction by more than half in ritualized behaviours. Nearly one third of the depressive symptoms associated with these fixations also disappeared."

The benefits of this therapy are very real; however, too few people dare to ask for help. By the nature of their illness, these patients are reluctant to go out in public, making a visit to the clinic a significant hurdle.

Kimberly is a woman who has benefited from the program. Speaking under an assumed name, she agreed to share the scope of her daily suffering: "I was ashamed to go out in public; I avoided all social activities. When I heard about this research project, it was a great relief for me. Finally, there was an explanation for my problems and, above all, a solution. This therapy helped me break free of my fixations and go back to work. I highly recommend it. "

Although BDD is little known, the disease is thought to affect over 350,000 Canadians, all of whom experience the same suffering, fears and turn to the same rituals and cosmetic procedures to avoid addressing the real nature of their illness. Nevertheless, these attempts to solve their problems reflect a true desire to end their suffering. Hair salons, dental offices, cosmetic surgery centres or a psychologist's chair? For people with body dysmorphic disorder, knocking on the right door is the true challenge.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

  • Over 350,000 Canadians are estimated to suffer from BDD
  • Specific populations: students (2 percent to 13.1 percent); clients of cosmetic surgery clinics (6 percent to 20 percent)
  • Affects both men and women
  • Rates of suicidal ideation (57.8 percent) and suicide attempts (2.6 percent)

Preliminary findings

  • Specialized therapy for a period of 20 weeks
  • Average reduction of 46 percent in appearance-related fixations
  • Average reduction of 53 percent in ritualized behaviours associated with these fixations (e.g., looking in the mirror, applying makeup, skin picking at the location of a perceived imperfection, etc.)
  • Average reduction of 34 percent in associated depressive symptoms


Contact: Catherine Dion
514-251-4000 x2986
University of Montreal

Related medicine news :

1. Targeted therapy prolongs life in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer
2. PharmMD Secures Investments to Fund New Opportunities in Medication Therapy Management
3. More smokers kick the habit with extended nicotine patch therapy, Penn research shows
4. Experts Issue Warning on Prostate Hormone Therapy
5. ASGCT: Gene Therapy Shows Promise for Patients with Pompe Disease
6. AAPM statement on quality radiation therapy
7. Congress Urged to Take Immediate Action to Ensure Frail Patients Continue to Receive Critical Therapy Services
8. Intensive Insulin Therapy Wont Boost Septic Shock Survival
9. News brief: Dermatologic infections in cancer patients treated with EGFRI therapy
10. A new target for lymphoma therapy
11. NCCN Guidelines for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Updated to Incorporate Maintenance Therapy
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Inevitably when people think Thanksgiving, they also think ... during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday massage chair sales to receive ... high and low to find the best massage chair deals, they can see all ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Somu Sivaramakrishnan announced today that he joined ... offers travelers, value and care based Travel Services, including exclusive pricing on a ... cabin upgrades and special amenities such as, shore excursions, discounted fares, travel gifts ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... NE (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... Jobs ... searched by healthcare professionals and offered by healthcare staffing agency Aureus Medical Group ... during the month of October 2015 among those searching for healthcare jobs through the ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., the first ... annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by the International ... November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention Center in ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated with Women’s Web – ... their reader’s queries on topics on mental and emotional well-being relationship, life ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26 november 2015 AAIPharma Services ... geplande investering aan van ten minste $15,8 ... en het mondiale hoofdkantoor in ... resulteren in extra kantoorruimte en extra capaciteit ... groeiende behoeften van de farmaceutische en biotechnologische ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has announced ... Outlook to 2019 - Rise in Cardiac Disorders and Growing ... to their offering. Boston ... scientific and others. --> The market ... Boston scientific and others. ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 ... has announced the addition of the  ... in the Global Cell Surface Testing ... Opportunities" report to their offering.  ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: