CNN reports that obsession with plastic surgery is a result of body dysmorphic disorder.
Learn more about how some people are obsessed with excessive plastic surgery in this video.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a chronic mental illness where someone is fixated on a presumed flaw in their physical appearance. It is also known as dysmorphophobia. To the person with BDD, their appearance seems so bad that they become extremely distressed over their imagined ugliness and don’t want to be seen by anyone.
When a person has body dysmorphic disorder they obsessively worry over their appearance and body image, sometimes staring at themselves in the mirror hours at a time. They also seek out using cosmetic surgery, sometimes excessively, to try to fix any perceived flaws but are rarely ever satisfied with their new appearance.
There are many symptoms to BDD which include the following:
- Fixated on your physical appearance
- A belief that you have an abnormality or defect in your physical appearance.
- You believe yourself to be ugly.
- Constant self-examining in the mirror or avoiding looking in the mirror altogether
- Feeling that others negatively take specific notice to your appearance
- Constant cosmetic procedures without any satisfaction
- Constant grooming
- Insecurity and self-conscious of themselves
- Not wanting their picture taken
- Continual picking of the skin
- Continual comparing of appearance with others
- Avoiding social engagements
- Wearing too much makeup or using clothes to cover up perceived flaws
Some of the body parts that BDD sufferers obsess about include:
- Skin Blemishes
When a person feels embarrassed or shame about their appearance it may be a good time to seek treatment for BDD. Mental health providers and health professionals are available to help with this condition. BDD rarely gets better by itself, and as people age their perceived ugliness only gets worse. If left untreated it could lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior.
Most experts do not fully know what causes BDD, however, biochemical, genes and environment may play a part in this illness. Researchers have identified developing trigger points which include:
- Having a relative with BDD
- Excessive teasing as a child
- Sexual and Physical Abuse
- Very low self-esteem
- Social pressures on perceived beauty
It is roughly estimated that approximately one percent of the entire population to have some form of BDD. However, as many as ten percent of those seeking cosmetic treatments may have BDD as well. BDD usually begins in abdolescence and demographically affects both women and men equally.
The complications that can arise as a result of BDD include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Mood swings and depression
- Continual Anxiety
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Anorexia/Bulimia/Binge Eating
- Phobias around people
- Drug/Alcohol abuse
- Very Low self-esteem
- Poor attendance at work and school
- Few close relationships
- Unnecessary medical and cosmetic surgery procedures
- Solitude Confinement
A person who seeks out a mental health provider for help with BDD will often be asked with the following questions:
- When did you first discover your symptoms?
- How is your daily life affected by this condition?
- How much time in a day to you spend thinking about your appearance?
- What other cosmetic treatments have you had in the past to treat your condition?
- What have you done on your own to make you feel better about your appearance?
- What types of things make you feel worse about your appearance?
- Have others that know you well commented on your behavior or moods?
- Have you had anyone else in your family that has had a similar illness?
- What do you hope to gain from treatment?
- Are their any medications or non-prescription supplements that are taken for your condition?
Treatments for BDD include psychotherapy and mediations. While cosmetic surgery may be a procedural fix for a perceived flaw it rarely fixes the distress of BDD. The results may not meet the expectation of the person. After which they may begin obsessing about another aspect of their appearance and seek out additional cosmetic procedures. Cosmetic surgery, at best, only temporarily fixes the way people view themselves and is not a permanent treatment for BDD.