What Causes BDD?

No one is certain of the exact causes of BDD. There is evidence that there is a neurobiological basis to BDD from neurochemistry and brain imaging studies. Although not proven, there may be abnormalities in the functioning of a brain molecule called serotonin. There may also be a genetic basis to susceptibility to BDD, as it tends to run in families. There is also evidence from neuropsychological testing that individuals with BDD have abnormalities in various cognitive processes such as processing of details, interpreting emotional facial expressions, and visual information processing.

There are likely other important contributing factors to the development of BDD, which might vary for each individual. The family environment during early development and relationships with key family members and peers may be important in shaping body image. Cultural factors may also be important in mediating the distress experienced by BDD sufferers, although BDD appears to exist in many different cultures and in different parts of the world.