People with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a type of psychiatric illness that causes a person to have a distorted view of their appearance resulting in depression may benefit with internet-based therapy, revealed a new study.
Researchers from the Karolinska Institute and Linkoping University in Sweden and King’s College London in the UK evaluated the effectiveness of a therapist guided Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD-NET) compared with online supportive therapy.
‘Online cognitive behavioral therapy can significantly improve symptom severity, depression, global functioning, and quality of life in people with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).’
They examined 94 adult patients with body dysmorphic disorder who randomly received either BDD-NET or supportive therapy for 12 weeks. Participants contacted a therapist via email during treatment and both groups were followed for 3 months after the end of treatment.
Researchers found that 56% of participants responded to the treatment and had a 30% reduction in their symptoms. Only 13% of responders in supportive therapy had symptom reductions. They also found that 39% of those receiving BDD-NET no longer met diagnostic criteria for body dysmorphic disorder.
After a period of six months, participants in the supportive therapy group who crossed over to BDD-NET also had an improvement in their symptom scores. The study was published in BMJ.
Researchers concluded that BDD-NET resulted in significant improvements in symptom severity, depression, and quality of life compared with supportive therapy.
“BDD-NET has the potential to increase access to evidence-based psychiatric care for this mental disorder,” said researchers.
Reference: Jesper Enander, Erik Andersson et al. “Therapist guided internet based cognitive behavioral therapy for body dysmorphic disorder: single blind randomized controlled trial,” BMJ 2016;352:i241