In this health video learn how those with Body Dysmorphic Disorder agonize over imperfections on their bodies so obsessively that they become depressed and often suicidal. Doctors think they know what's wrong.
Read the full transcript »

Jennifer Matthews: For the first time in 15 years, Aron Cowen is optimistic about breaking into the music business. Therapy and medication now control an obsessive disorder that once destroyed his self esteem. Aron Cowen: It prevented me from enjoying life pretty much as a whole. I didn't ever feel good about myself. My self esteem was always really low. Jennifer Matthews: Aron spent hours every day in front of the mirror agonizing over his curly hair. He hid it in braids and chemically straightened it so often he destroyed it. One day, he caught his profile in the mirror and his obsession moved to his nose. Aron Cowen: Just kept looking at it. I couldn't believe that was my nose. I'd never looked at my nose that intensely before. Jennifer Matthews: When two plastic surgeries didn't satisfy him, he saw a psychiatrist -- and was diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder or BDD. There's no cure for BDD, but Dr. Jamie Feusner may have found the cause. Dr. Jamie Feusner: Clearly, there's much more activity in the left hemisphere. Jennifer Matthews: While healthy people most often use the right side of the brain to process faces, BDD patients use the left -- or analytical side. Their brains may actually be programmed to extract details or fill them in where they don't exist. Dr. Jamie Feusner: Probably a very piecemeal way of processing -- kind of portion by portion rather than seeing something in a more global or holistic kind of way. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors say it's possible to teach patients to re-train their brain. If Aron learns to process less detail and more 'big picture,' he'll see himself as others do -- with a bright future. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement