Document Type : Systematic review


1 Withybush General Hospital

2 Glasgow Royal Infirmary


Objective:  Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an underdiagnosed condition among the general population with significant associated morbidity and mortality. Symptoms of BDD include worrying excessively about a particular part of the body, repeatedly checking oneself in the mirror and attempting to cover up particular areas of the body.
Aim: To determine the prevalence of BDD within the global population. To perform a further subgroup analysis to identify groups that have a higher prevalence than the general population. To assess the modalities of diagnosis BDD and its relative abundance.
Methods: A systematic review using the PubMed database using the search criteria ‘BDD’ or ‘body dysmorphic disorder’ and ‘prevalence’ or ‘incidence’ from 1 January 1990 to 1 January 2020. 591studies were found, 81 of which were eligible and included in the study. Prevalence was calculated for the global population and subgroups, student, dermatology, surgical and psychiatric patients.
Results: The ranges of prevalence within studies were as follows; within the general population, the prevalence of BDD ranged from 0.5-3.2% (n=8). It was 1.3-5.8% (n=8) in student cohorts, 4.9- 21.1% (n=12) in general dermatology cohorts, 1.3%-5.8% (n=8) in a student population, 0-54.3% (28) in psychiatric cohorts and 2.9- 57% (n=15) in cosmetic surgery cohorts.
Conclusion: Studies found had low heterogenicity. However, there was variation in diagnostic criteria and methods of data collection. This study shows that a significant number of people suffer from BDD. Due to the fact that people with BDD often don’t seek help, this number is likely an underestimation. This study identified subgroups of the population that have a higher prevalence of BDD. Targeted screening of individuals in high-risk cohorts, as well as further clinician education, may be of benefit to help aid early recognition and diagnosis. Additionally, structured clinical interviews for DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), also known as SCID, were the most common and appear to be more effective than normal interviews at identifying individuals with BDD.


Main Subjects

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