Cutaneous Body Image Dissatisfaction in Eating Disorders

  • Madhulika A. Gupta
  • Aditya K. Gupta


The body image pathology in eating disorders, which classically manifests as dissatisfaction with body weight and shape, can generalize to concerns about other aspects of body image, including cutaneous body image. As eating-disordered patients typically tend to minimize or deny their condition, a distorted cutaneous body image (CBI) may be the only presenting sign of an underlying eating disorder. A significantly (p 0.05) higher frequency of CBI dissatisfaction has been observed among eating disordered patients (79–81%) versus nonclinical community-based controls (52–56%), respectively. Greater CBI dissatisfaction was associated with higher scores on ratings of eating disorder-related psychopathology. Patients with a distorted CBI may seek treatment for minimal or even nonexistent dermatologic disease, tend to have unrealistic expectations of what treatment has to offer, and often are at higher risk for suicide. If the underlying eating disorder and body image pathology are not addressed, such patients may end up receiving excessive or unnecessary treatments for their dermatologic complaints.


Burning Obesity Depression Psoriasis Dermatitis 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatrySchulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoLondonCanada

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