Jean Tignol

Imaginary Physical Defects Understanding and Treating Dysmorphic Disorders Publication date : January 25, 2006

If you are afflicted with a real physical defect that upsets you, you can either learn to live with it, or try to get rid of it with plastic surgery. But if you are obsessed with an imaginary defect that stops you from leading a normal life, what can be done?
Long neglected by the medical profession, the pathological obsession with imaginary defects now has a name: Body Dismorphic Disorder, or BDD. Every year, this disorder is responsible for thousands of consultations, resulting in a multitude of medical and surgical interventions which are all totally useless because without any concrete object.

Though largely unknown by the general public, and little-known among physicians and psychiatrists, BDD is increasingly common: it affects as many as 10 % of all patients consulting a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Jean Tignol reviews the forms of treatment that are now available for patients suffering from BDD.

Jean Tignol, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, is the head of a hospital service at the teaching hospital of Bordeaux.