Body parts of clinical concern in anorexia nervosa versus body dysmorphic disorder. A cross-diagnostic comparison


Anorexia nervosa (AN) and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) share a hallmark clinical feature of severe body image disturbance. Despite numerous clinical similarities, research assessing the nature of their body image dissatisfaction is limited. This study thus aimed to compare major demographic and clinical characteristics, as well as assess whether their clinical concerns related to the same weight versus non-weight related body parts. Participants were 26 AN and 24 BDD patients (100% female), recruited from specialist in- and out-patient psychiatric services as well as community sources. They were administered a range of clinical measures, including key questions about the specificities of their body image concerns. Results revealed increased psychiatric and personality comorbidities in AN relative to BDD. The AN group was also preoccupied with three body zones typically linked to weight concerns, where the BDD group fixated on facial features, hair and skin. These findings convey potential diagnostic and therapeutic utility.

In Australasian Psychiatry

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