This article raises some questions. What about people who are physically unattractive—those whom a majority of the society considers ugly? I suspect that many people treated for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are unattractive by that definition. The psychiatric profession tends to deny that many of the “illnesses” it treats are the result of realities that can’t be “cured” by denial.

Fred Kohler
Ashland, Ore.

Excuse me? Two out of nine study participants who attempted suicide succeeded, and this is “double” the suicide rate of some other group? What if one of those two successful attempts had failed because the attempt was discovered sooner? Is the suicide rate suddenly “normal”?

Joseph C. Nemeth
Fort Collins, Colo.

Actual ugliness is irrelevant to BDD. Only people who are seriously distressed by their belief that they’re ugly have the disorder. Many people whom others find unattractive are fine with their appearances. The researchers were cautious about the findings because some groups were small. —E. Jaffe

From the Nature Index

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