Abnormal brain function could find a link with distorted body imageNearly three million Americans suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) or dysmorphophobia, which is a hidden disease in the sense that patients try altering their appearance through plastic surgeries perceiving themselves to have a physical flaw or ugly.

Sanjaya Saxena, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, is leading a study for identifying brain structure abnormalities that are associated with this complication besides determining how these abnormalities can be altered with treatment.

Saxena hopes to find out if venlafaxine (Effexor), a drug commonly used to treat depression and anxiety disorders can be used to treat BDD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Compulsive Hoarding.