Increased Suicide Risk Seen in Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Prospective study shows patients have high rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts

WEDNESDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with body dysmorphic disorder have high rates of suicidality compared with the general population, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Katharine A. Phillips, M.D., of Butler Hospital in Providence, R.I., and colleagues conducted a prospective study of 185 body dysmorphic disorder patients who were followed for up to four years.

The researchers found that a mean of 57.8 percent of subjects per year reported suicidal ideation, a rate 10 to 25 times higher than found in the general population, and that a mean of 2.6 percent per year attempted suicide, a rate three to 12 times higher than found in the general population. Two subjects (0.3 percent per year) completed suicide, a rate 45 times higher than found in the general population after adjustment for age, gender and geographic region.

"The completed suicide rate is preliminary but suggests that the rate of completed suicide in body dysmorphic disorder is markedly high," the authors conclude. "Individuals with body dysmorphic disorder have many suicide risk factors, including having high rates of psychiatric hospitalization, being single or divorced, and having high comorbidity, poor social supports, poor self-esteem, and high levels of anxiety, depression, and hostility."

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