Visual Perception Is Skewed In People With Anorexia, Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Abnormalities in the brains of people with eating disorders may explain why body image is such a concern.

Researchers from UCLA found that people with anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder have abnormal activity in the brain’s visual cortex, an area responsible for processing perceptions of images.

“We now know that these abnormalities may be happening at the very early stages when the brain begins processing visual input, and that the similar distortions in perception shared by anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder may have similar neurobiological origins,” said study author Wei Li. “This understanding has the potential to lead to new strategies that can improve the way we treat these disorders.”

Perceptual retraining

Participants in the study, 15 individuals with anorexia and 15 individuals without it, were shown images of other people’s faces and images of houses.

Electrical activity that was recorded in the first 200 milliseconds of seeing the images suggest that people with eating disorders may have a heightened critical response and distorted perceptions due to brain changes.

The study suggests that perceptual retraining therapies might be a viable option for treating eating disorders.

“Among the questions to be answered in future research is whether this dysfunction improves as a result of treatment,” Li said.

Source: UCLA

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by one of our treatment partners below.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by one of our treatment partners, a paid advertiser on EatingDisorders.com.

All calls are private and confidential.

I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOWI NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW 800-568-9025Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?