With the advent of the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) has been subsumed into the obsessive-compulsive disorders and related disorders (OCDRD) category.
We aimed to determine the empirical evidence regarding the potential relationship between BDD and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) based on the prevalence data, etiopathogenic pathways, and clinical characterization of patients with both disorders.
A comprehensive search of databases (PubMed and PsycINFO) was performed. Published manuscripts between 1985 and May 2015 were identified. Overall, 53 studies fulfilled inclusion criteria.
Lifetime comorbidity rates of BDD-OCD are almost three times higher in samples with a primary diagnosis of BDD than those with primary OCD (27.5% vs 10.4%). However, other mental disorders, such as social phobia or major mood depression, are more likely among both types of psychiatric samples. Empirical evidence regarding the etiopathogenic pathways for BDD-OCD comorbidity is still inconclusive, whether concerning common shared features or one disorder as a risk factor for the other. Specifically, current findings concerning third variables show more divergences than similarities when comparing both disorders. Preliminary data on the clinical characterization of the patients with BDD and OCD indicate that the deleterious clinical impact of BDD in OCD patients is greater than vice versa.
Despite the recent inclusion of BDD within the OCDRD, data from comparative studies between BDD and OCD need further evidence for supporting this nosological approach. To better define this issue, comparative studies between BDD, OCD, and social phobia should be carried out.