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Beauty and Body Dysmorphic Disorder

A Clinician's Guide

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2015


Over the decades, research has repeatedly demonstrated that individuals who are more physically attractive are judged more favorably and receive preferential treatment in interpersonal situations across their life span. Understanding beauty and what the human eye finds aesthetically pleasing is important to practicing physicians in cosmetic fields, such as dermatology and plastic surgery, since this importance of beauty brings many patients into their clinics. However, while certain features appear to be found attractive across individuals and cultures, biologic perceptions can be reshaped by a dynamic configuring of neural networks and surroundings. On the extreme end of body image perception lies body dysmorphic disorder. Fundamentals of Beauty and Body Dysmorphic Disorder assists dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and primary care physicians in recognizing key characteristics that are oftentimes overlooked or go untreated. Additionally, it discusses the disorder as it relates to the objective and subjective aspects of beauty.

According to recent statistics, body dysmorphic disorder occurs in up to 2.4% of the general population and within 5-15% of dermatology and cosmetic surgery patients. Moreover, up to 50% of those suffering with the disorder sought treatment from a dermatologist and 33% requested cosmetic surgery. However, these patients are often unhappy with results and only 15% of dermatologists reported successfully treating body dysmorphic disorder, while 11% were comfortable starting a treatment plan. Therefore, Fundamentals of Beauty and Body Dysmorphic Disorder aims to help bridge the gap between identifying and treating this illness, as well as helping physicians spot the signs in current and potential patients.

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