What you need to know:
Body dysmorphic disorder which is a common cause for this type of addiction can also be triggered by social pressure and insecurities rooted in feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem.
The constant need for more surgeries to achieve perfect results leads to overzealous and accelerated procedures with less than reputable surgeons, and in some cases, death by anaesthesia overdose.
When looking to do plastic surgery, choose a surgeon who is qualified and board-certified.
Plastic surgery, for many people, is a means to be happier with their bodies. But did you know that it is possible to get addicted to plastic surgery?
People who are addicted to plastic surgery may spend a lot of time obsessing about how they look and go through many rounds of painful surgeries to get that perfect look before they realise that it is not worth the pain.
Plastic surgery is a complex practice. When doctors assist patients with the goal of improving their appearance and function, it is supposed to make them happy. However, the roles of plastic surgery are multifaceted.
For example, a patient may have psychological needs like self-esteem or body image issues alongside social considerations such as how friends and family perceive them. It takes understanding all these aspects to achieve satisfaction, especially for patients seeking repeat plastic surgeries.
Developing the addiction
When one becomes addicted to plastic surgery, they may start obsessively looking at pictures of celebrities and models with perfect bodies. Comparing these images with themselves makes them unhappy because they fall short. When such people go for surgery, they feel a momentary sense of relief or happiness after seeing what is now considered 'perfection' - only to return to feeling bad about themselves after some time.
While having multiple cosmetic surgeries may seem like an addiction, the underlying reason is usually tied to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a condition where one has a distorted self-image and obsesses over certain body features.
People with this disorder fixate on these things until they finally break down and seek surgery to make them 'perfect'. However, the results of the surgery only provide temporary relief.
Note: Body shaming can trigger body dysmorphic disorder.
Effects of the addiction
The effects of a plastic surgery addiction can be hazardous. Common effects include:
- A sense of emptiness after the surgery.
- Delayed healing.
- Self-esteem/body image issues.
- Increased risks of infections.
- The constant need for more surgeries to achieve perfect results leads to overzealous and accelerated procedures with less than reputable surgeons, and in some cases, death by anaesthesia overdose.
Managing the addiction
The first step to managing a plastic surgery addiction is to admit that you have the problem and need help. The next step is to set realistic goals and find a surgeon who can help satisfy your body image needs and self-esteem. Finally, recognise all the possible psychological effects of surgery, such as depression, increased risks of infections, and the constant need for more surgeries.
In severe cases of body dysmorphic disorder, go for therapy. Therapy can help address the underlying issues causing you to have a skewed perception of your body image and low self-esteem.
When looking to do plastic surgery, choose a surgeon who is qualified and board-certified. Work with a surgeon who will listen to your concerns and help you achieve satisfaction in whatever body areas need change.
Remember there is no such thing as perfection, even after plastic surgery, so focus on realistic goals.
The dangers of plastic surgery addiction may seem obvious to some, but the psychological effects are often overlooked. Body dysmorphic disorder which is a common cause for this type of addiction can also be triggered by social pressure and insecurities rooted in feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem.
When considering your options for care, work with an experienced surgeon who will listen to your concerns and help you achieve satisfaction in the areas that need change, while recognising what is realistic and achievable through surgical intervention.