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GENDER AND BDD ACROSS THE LIFE SPAN BDD AND GENDER: BDD ACROSS THE LIFE SPAN – EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR BDD

People who get effective treatment for BDD (SRIs and/or cognitive-behavioral therapy) tend to do much better than this over time. In a study of people I treated in my clinical practice, all of whom received medication and some of whom also received cognitive-behavioral therapy, 58% had attained partial or full remission from BDD (i.e., they no longer met full DSM-IV criteria for the disorder) at the 6-month point and/or at the 12 month point after beginning treatment. After 4 years of treatment, 84% had attained partial or full remission at least one of the assessment points (study assessments were done every 6 months during treatment). Those with milder BDD symptoms, and those who didn’t have major depression or social phobia at the beginning of treatment, did better over time.More rigorous treatment studies also yield encouraging findings: in all of the medication studies that have been done so far (which lasted for 8 to 16 weeks), half to three quarters of people improved with an SRI. Similarly, studies of cognitive-behavioral therapy show significant improvement in BDD symptoms. So taken together, data from patients treated in my clinical practice and from treatment studies are encouraging, indicating that a majority of treated patients do well.It appears that BDD symptoms often wax and wane over time; that is, when they’re present they may be more severe at some times than others. Symptom severity may fluctuate for no apparent reason, or in response to stress or triggering events, such as skin picking or being in a social situation. Women not uncommonly say that BDD worsens premenstrually. Here, too, we need prospective studies to better understand how BDD symptoms fluctuate, and what factors seem to influence this. Ultimately, if we can better understand why BDD improves, we can use this knowledge to alleviate suffering.*151\204\8*

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