Research

Imagined Ugliness Can be Treated with Internet-Based CBT

Imagined ugliness, or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) as it is known, can be treated with internet-based CBT, according to a recent randomised study, the first of its kind ever conducted. The new treatment, which is published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), has been developed by researchers at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet and has the potential to increase access to care for sufferers of BDD.

People suffering from BDD have a preoccupation with perceived flaws in one's physical appearance, despite looking normal. However, even though the diagnosis is associated with an elevated risk of suicide, higher rate of sick leave and considerable distress, BDD has long been neglected by the care services, leaving sufferers struggling to find the help they need.

In order to increase access to therapy, a new type of internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been developed and tested in the largest treatment study to date. After twelve weeks' of treatment, one in every three patients no longer met criteria for a diagnosis of BDD.

"Our results show that internet-based CBT outperformed supportive therapy, and that its therapeutic effect is fully comparable with that achieved by conventional CBT," says the study's first author Jesper Enander at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Clinical Neuroscience.

A majority of the 94 patients included in the study had been suffering from BDD for many years and had had previous contact with the healthcare services. One in five had undergone one to six plastic surgery operations trying to 'fix' perceived flaws in their appearance. For the study, the group was randomly assigned to two forms of therapy: internet-based CBT or supportive therapy. Those assigned to this latter control group were later offered CBT.

Immediately after the therapy programme ended, half of the people in the CBT group showed greatly reduced symptoms. One third were completely cured. CBT also improved the participants’ quality of life and reduced depressive symptoms. Of the participants who had major depressive disorder at the start of the study, half were no longer depressed at the end of the study.

The researchers hope that the treatment will eventually be made generally available, so that more BDD sufferers can get access to treatment that works.

"Many BDD suffers receive no treatment at all, partly because the condition is relatively unknown within the healthcare services but also because people with the disorder tend not to seek treatment out of fear that they'll be dismissed as superficial or not be taken seriously," says principal investigator Christian Rück at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Clinical Neuroscience. "Most of the study participants also said it was the possibility to do the therapy online that made them seek any help at all in the first place."

The study was financed by ALF funds from Karolinska Institutet and the Stockholm County Council, the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Society of Medicine.

Therapist-guided Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy for body dysmorphic disorder: A single-blind randomised controlled trial, Jesper Enander, Erik Andersson, David Mataix-Cols, Linn Lichtenstein, Katarina Alström, Gerhard Andersson, Brjánn Ljótsson, Christian Rück, British Medical Journal , BMJ 2016;352:i24, online 2 February 2016.

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. Its vision is to significantly contribute to the improvement of human health. Karolinska Institutet accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country's broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet selects the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.

Most Popular Now

All in One: Maximum Interoperabilit…

The Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias (HUCA) presented their success story on healthcare information system integration at the Cerner Collaboration Forum in Lond...

Read more

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Menta…

"There's an app for that." The phrase is so ubiquitous it's a meme, and trademarked by Apple Inc. In fact there are more than 165,000 mobile applications available for he...

Read more

The Entrepreneurial Village for Eur…

8 - 10 June 2016, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The Entrepreneurial Village at eHealth Week 2016 will give you the opportunity to meet and connect with the highest profile...

Read more

Data Analytics for Unstructured Cli…

Clinical case notes are vital to delivering high-quality, coordinated patient care and optimising resources across the health economy. Yet case notes are unstructured and...

Read more

Open Call SC1-PM-07-2017: Promoting…

Proposals should develop population-oriented primary prevention interventions to promote mental well-being of young people and assess them for their effectiveness. The ...

Read more

Merck Brings International Start-Up…

Merck, a leading science and technology company, has announced the participants for its Accelerator Programs in Darmstadt and Nairobi. Almost 200 highly competitive appli...

Read more

A Future without Desktops - Address…

Opinion Article by Matthew Kybert, Systems Development & Integration Manager at The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. When clinicians in Hillingdon became the f...

Read more

IMS MAXIMS Successfully Awarded a P…

IMS MAXIMS has been awarded a place on the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) new Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) Framework. The DOS Framework is one of three compleme...

Read more

Online Therapy Effective at Treatin…

Doctors from the University of Pittsburgh showed that providing an online computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (CCBT) program both alone and in combination with Inte...

Read more

Evar Guidance Engine Software Makes…

At the Charing Cross Congress in London, Siemens Healthcare presents the Evar Guidance Engine software application package to support minimally invasive treatment of aort...

Read more

Doctors 2.0 & YOU 2016

26 - 27 May, Paris, France. Doctors 2.0 & YOU, the International Digital Health Congress that offers to every health professionals the opportunity to understand how to u...

Read more

A Personalized Virtual Heart Predic…

When electrical waves in the heart run amok in a condition called arrhythmia, sudden death can occur. To save the life of a patient at risk, doctors currently implant a s...

Read more

Digest Newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter and stay updated on the latest eHealth News. Subscribe now, it's free!
© eHealthNews.eu 2006 - 2016