According to a report in the July issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry (2006; 163, 1280–82), persons suffering from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are 45 times more likely to commit suicide than nonsufferers. BDD causes individuals to become obsessed with their appearance and to develop a distorted self-image.
Researchers studied 185 subjects over 4 years and found that, during each year, 58% considered suicide and 2.6% actually attempted to kill themselves (two participants were successful). “The good news is that there are two forms of treatment [antidepressant medication and cognitive behavior therapy] that seem to be helpful with this disorder,” said study co-author Katherine A. Phillips, as reported by Reuters. “This just underscores the importance of recognizing this illness and recognizing that it’s a severe illness that can potentially respond very well to mental health treatment.”