Body dysmorphic disorder : a diagnostic challenge in adolescence

Thungana, Yanga ; Moxley, Karis ; Lachman, Anusha (2018)

CITATION: Thungana, Y., Moxley, K. & Lachman, A. 2018. Body dysmorphic disorder : a diagnostic challenge in adolescence. South African Journal of Psychiatry, 24:a1114, doi:10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v24i0.1114.

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Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a chronic and disabling condition that is characterised by distressing preoccupations with perceived defects in one’s own appearance, which might be slight or not observable to others. It is considered to be an obsessive–compulsive spectrum disorder and is associated with depression, feelings of shame and poor quality of life. It is primarily a disorder of childhood or adolescent onset, and sub-clinical BDD symptoms begin, on average, several years before an individual’s symptoms meet full criteria for the disorder. Here we report the case of an adolescent admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit for treatment of psychotic symptoms that were poorly responsive to standard treatments. This challenging case of BDD in an adolescent highlights the various comorbidities of the disorder, as well as the difficulties associated with BDD diagnosis.

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