You don’t have to look further than the celebrity magazines at the supermarket check-out counter to find examples of people who have had one plastic surgery procedure after another. Why do people do this? Does it make them feel better about themselves, and if so, why do they need more and more procedures? Does it stem from some issue in their childhood? Is it a real addiction, like cigarettes?
A psychological addiction
Experts agree that plastic surgery is not a physical addiction, but it can be a psychological addiction. The underlying issue is called BDD, or body dysmorphic disorder. When a person has BDD, they can become obsessed with any small, or even imaginary, defect in their body or face. They focus on this “problem” so much that it begins interfering with normal life.
People with BDD often work hard to disguise or hide their “problems.” They may select clothing or accessories to cover it up, or use makeup to try to make it less obvious. Some of them turn to surgery. One study we looked at identified that about a third of patients who had a nose job showed symptoms of BDD. Unfortunately, people with BDD are often dissatisfied with the results of plastic surgery, sometimes due to unreasonable expectations, or the fact that the perceived “problem” only existed in their mind to start with. Alternatively, they may like the results, but then suddenly discover they have another feature that needs “fixing”.
The battle against ageing
Most people have plastic surgery because they want to keep their youth for as long as possible. As people look in the mirror each day, and see more wrinkles and sagging skin, they may decide to take action to make themselves look younger. Often it can start with non-surgical procedures like Botox, but eventually, many of them opt for plastic surgery such as facelifts, tummy tucks, eyelid lifts and others.
The rate at which we appear to age is largely determined by genetics, especially the genes we inherit from mothers. If you are concerned about getting more smile lines, crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles, there’s nothing you can do about the root cause. Many people, especially baby boomers, are ready to take whatever action they can to reverse that ageing progression, at least on the surface.
Looking good for social media
One disturbing trend is that as more people take “selfies” and post images of themselves on social media sites, they become increasingly aware of how they look to others. If a person has a negative self-image this can exacerbate it, and cause them to focus more on problems with their appearance. It’s impossible to accept that our flaws define our personalities when we see artificial perfection all around us.
Is there a cure for plastic surgery addiction?
We can’t say for sure. Considering that we’re talking about a psychological type of addiction, only the person getting all that surgery can decide when enough is enough. Having ten nose jobs and still not being happy with the result is a clear sign of plastic surgery addiction.
Plastic surgery can be a wonderful thing, and certainly helps people all over the world, whether it is to fix a physical problem or help improve self-esteem. It only becomes an issue when someone continues to get more and more plastic surgery in the hope it will fix flaws that only they can see. In the end, for an addict, it may create more flaws and issues that one could ever imagine to begin with.
By Edward Francis and CosmeticSurgeryClinic.co.uk.