Tanning in Body Dysmorphic Disorder
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- Phillips, K.A., Conroy, M., Dufresne, R.G. et al. Psychiatr Q (2006) 77: 129. doi:10.1007/s11126-006-9002-2
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Tanning in body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) has not previously been studied. In this study, 200 subjects with BDD were evaluated with measures to examine the prevalence of BDD-related tanning—i.e., darkening one's skin color by direct exposure to sunlight or artificial light which is motivated by a desire to improve a perceived appearance defect (i.e., a BDD concern). We also examined clinical characteristics of individuals who engaged in BDD-related tanning. 25% (95% CI, 19.0%–31.0%) of subjects reported BDD-related tanning. Among tanners, the skin was the most common body area of concern (84.0%). All tanners experienced functional impairment due to BDD, 26% had attempted suicide, and quality of life was markedly poor. 52% of tanners had received dermatologic treatment, which was usually ineffective for BDD symptoms. Tanners were more likely than non-tanners to compulsively pick their skin. In conclusion, tanning—a behavior with well-known health risks—is a relatively frequent BDD-related behavior.