Project 16: Week 5

For this week we were assigned to start the introduction part of our study. 

Describe the general topic of interest.
Body dysmorphic disorder, BDD, is a term used to describe those who find a flaw in their appearance and they are excessively preoccupied about that flaw. BDD is considered a mental disorder that is associated with an obsessive worry that one feature in appearance is very flawed and to fix this flaw people go through extensive approaches. Sometimes the flaw is not that noticeable but to that individual it is severely exaggerated. They spend a numerous amount of time mirror gazing and constantly comparing themselves with “ideal” body. According to the DSM-5, BDD is under the obsessive compulsive spectrum and can be linked to anorexia nervosa. It is most common during adolescence and it affects both men and women equally. About 2.4% of the population suffers from this disorder. As a result of this disorder these individuals tend to avoid social situations and being exposed. BDD is a silent disorder as it has been underdiagnosed and often time can lead to suicide. Treatments go from “cognitive behaviour therapy and  selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in high doses for at least 12 weeks” (Veale, 2004).

Describe what work has been done in the field.
BDD is often linked to high rates of depression and suicide. Most patients go beyond their expectations and perform do it yourself cosmetics surgery. These patients are often reported to be the most discontent with their results and have a poor quality of life. Research has shown that these patients are often more distressed than those patients diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder and diabetes(Veale, 2004). They often find comfort in alcohol and withdraw themselves from any social situation. Kunstman (2015), conducted a study correlated the ability to detect internal bodily sensations and BDD. This study showed that there was an inverse correlation between these two factors. Another study conducted by Ritter (2014) reported that imagery rescripting for patients with BDD showed an improvement in the two week follow up. This study however is an individual case study which only shows results from one patient opposed to a higher demography. A study by Buhlmann (2015) showed that cognitive behavioral models were helpful to determine social anxiety disorder and body dysmorphic disorder cases and treatment. The study resulted in an overall poor performance in mindreading tasks for patients with BDD and SAD.

Describe what work needs to be done, or what gaps exist in our knowledge.
There are many studies that show an approach to therapy to treat patients with BDD but most of them do not find benefits to antipsychotic drugs or other forms of psychotherapy. There are not many options besides therapy to help patients avoid becoming surgery addictive patients. Cosmetic surgery should be avoided in all cases because many of these patients undergo thousands of surgical procedures just to remain uncomfortable in their bodies. Many of these studies lack the behavioral therapy that can be further supplemented. Most of these patients do not respond to treatment dealing with antipsychotic drugs but they respond to antidepressant drugs.

Discuss how your study will fill those.
The gold standard psychological remedy for BDD is cognitive behavioral therapy. With therapy through a game based learning intervention this study hopes to reinforce the gold standard and to help the patient deal with situation that cause fear and social anxiety. This approach also hopes to reduce the chances that BDD patients will undergo cosmetic surgery.

State your thesis as a prediction.
It is predicted that within the population of at risk BDD individuals that a game based learning intervention might reduce the chances of them becoming surgery addicted patients and ultimately suicide opposed to that population that doesn’t receive game based intervention.



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About Robert O. Duncan

I'm an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at City University of New York, with joint appointments in Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience. I also have an appointment as a Visiting Scholar at New York University. My research interests include cognitive neuroscience, functional magnetic resonance imaging, glaucoma, neurodegenerative disorders, attention, learning, memory, educational technology, pedagogy, and developing games for education.

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