Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Supportive Psychotherapy for Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Conditions:Anxiety, Psychiatric
Therapuetic Areas:Psychiatry / Psychology
Age Range:18 - Any
Start Date:August 2011
End Date:April 2016
Contact:Rachel Schwartz, B.A.

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CBT Versus Supportive Psychotherapy for Body Dysmorphic Disorder

The purpose of this study is to learn more about two different types of psychotherapy to
help individuals who have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). BDD is a severe, often chronic,
and common disorder consisting of distressing or impairing preoccupation with perceived
defects in one's physical appearance. Individuals with BDD have very poor psychosocial
functioning and high rates of hospitalization and suicidality. Because BDD differs in
important ways from other disorders, psychotherapies for other disorders are not adequate
for BDD. Despite BDD's severity, there is no adequately tested psychosocial treatment
(psychotherapy) of any type for this disorder. This study will compare the effectiveness of
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Supportive Psychotherapy as well as predictors of

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a common and severe disorder in which a person is
preoccupied by perceived defects in his or her appearance. The purpose of this research
study is to learn more about two different forms of therapy to help individuals with BDD:
cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a promising new treatment for BDD, and supportive
psychotherapy (SPT), the most commonly received therapy for BDD. The investigators would
like to find out which treatment is more effective for BDD. The investigators will also
examine patient characteristics that may predict response to treatment.

Participants will be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to receive 22 sessions
(over 24 weeks) of either CBT or SPT. Both treatments teach participants about BDD. CBT
focuses on helping participants to develop more adaptive thoughts and beliefs and to
gradually reduce avoidance and compulsive (repetitive) behaviors. SPT focuses on
relationships, feelings, and other factors that may affect BDD symptoms (e.g., work,
stress), and helps participants to cope with challenges in their life by improving
self-esteem and positive coping.

For each participant, this study will last for 12 months. CBT and SPT sessions occur for 22
sessions over 24 weeks. The severity of participants' BDD-related symptoms and other
symptoms will be assessed at the end of treatment (week 24), and at 3- and 6-months after
treatment ends.

Inclusion Criteria:

- Outpatient men and women age 18 and older

- DSM-IV BDD or its delusional variant for at least 6 months

- BDD is the most problematic psychiatric disorder (in the patient's and clinician's
opinion) and the primary reason for seeking treatment

- Score of 24 or higher on the BDD-Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale

Exclusion Criteria:

- Current clinically significant suicidality and/or score on the BDI-II suicide item
(#9) > 1

- Any clinical features requiring a higher level of care

- Mental retardation or borderline intellectual functioning (estimated IQ < 80 on the
Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence) or dementia, brain damage, or other
cognitive impairment that would interfere with ability to engage in CBT

- DSM-IV substance abuse or dependence within the past 3 months; or a positive urine
drug screen for any illicit substances of abuse

- Current manic episode

- Psychotic disorder

- Borderline personality disorder

- Body image concerns accounted for by an eating disorder

- Previous treatment with > 10 sessions of CBT for BDD

- Subjects cannot be receiving any other psychotherapy or begin such treatment during
the study

- Patients can be receiving psychotropic medication if they have taken a stable dose
for at least two months before the study baseline assessment and the dose remains
stable during the study.

- Presence of any behavior (e.g., violence) that would interfere with full cooperation
with the protocol.
We found this trial at
593 Eddy Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Principal Investigator: Katharine Phillips, M.D.
Phone: 401-444-1644
Rhode Island Hospital Founded in 1863, Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, RI, is a private,...
Providence, RI
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185 Cambridge Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Principal Investigator: Sabine Wilhelm, Ph.D.
Phone: 617-643-4357
Boston, MA
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