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Body dysmorphic disorder, all in the mind?



‘Ugliness: it’s all in the mind’ was a news heading that caught my eye this morning in ‘The Sunday Age’.


Apparently, researchers at Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology have found that a significant number of people wanting cosmetic surgery to remedy appearance flaws have brain abnormalities.

These brain abnormalities are found in approx. 1-2% of the population.


The research has found that the brain abnormalities are chiefly found in the occipital cortex where the brain does the majority of its visual processing. However,some people also have abnormalities in the frontal cortex which processes emotions.

If someone only has abnormalities in their visual cortex, they will have problems correcting visualising themselves when they look at their body.


However if the frontal cortex also has abnormalities people become depressed and believe that they are physically deformed.

Given that people with body dysmorphic disorder have brain abnormalities it is not surprising that many bdd patients are dissatisfied after cosmetic surgery procedures.


The researchers recommend that cosmetic and plastic surgeons should screen their patients for body dysmorphic disorder so they can avoid doing procedures which are not going to help sufferers feel better about their appearance.


Clinical psychologist Catherine Madigan treats body dysmorphic disorder so please call or 0429 88 3671  for assistance.


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