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Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Neurobiological Features and an Updated Model.

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Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois, Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) affects approximately 2% of the population and involves misperceived defects of appearance along with obsessive preoccupation and compulsive behaviors. There is evidence of neurobiological abnormalities associated with symptoms in BDD, although research to date is still limited. This review covers the latest neuropsychological, genetic, neurochemical, psychophysical, and neuroimaging studies and synthesizes these findings into an updated (yet still preliminary) neurobiological model of the pathophysiology of BDD. We propose a model in which visual perceptual abnormalities, along with frontostriatal and limbic system dysfunction, may combine to contribute to the symptoms of impaired insight and obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors expressed in BDD. Further research is necessary to gain a greater understanding of the etiological formation of BDD symptoms and their evolution over time.


BDD; etiology; model; neurobiology; pathophysiology

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