Plastic Surgery Addiction
Plastic surgery addiction is a behavioral addiction which negatively impacts a person’s health, mental well-being, and finances. Tragically, people with body dysmorphic disorder are more likely to become addicted to plastic surgery, but there are resources available to help anyone recover.
Understanding Plastic Surgery Addiction
Plastic surgery addiction is a behavioral disorder which causes a person to want to constantly change their appearance by undergoing plastic surgery. This disorder may cause someone to spend thousands of dollars on multiple operations, all of which may not ultimately make them any happier. The desire for plastic surgery arises from the insecurity that people feel about how they look. This is a normal emotion that everybody occasionally experiences. However, when insecurity becomes obsessive and plastic surgery become the center of a person’s life, there is a serious problem.
As with any addiction, plastic surgery addiction escalates after an initial experience. When someone who lives with debilitating insecurity feels better about their appearance after their first operation, they may decide to have another one to correct another “flaw.” As soon as plastic surgery becomes the solution to negative self-perception, some people will sign up for as many procedures as they can afford. Some plastic surgery addicts even try to modify themselves to look like someone else, such as a celebrity they admire.
Eventually, someone might begin to structure their life around upcoming operations and begin to rely on plastic surgery as the source of their self-esteem. Once someone has this dangerous mindset, they may develop an addiction and be unable to stop applying for procedures. Even when surgeons refuse to operate on them, they may find less-qualified doctors to perform riskier operations and, in extreme cases, they may attempt surgery on themselves.
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What Are the Risks of Plastic Surgery?
Plastic surgery is intended to enhance and improve certain features of the body. Therefore, the purpose of plastic surgery is to make someone feel more attractive and confident. In a medical sense, plastic surgery is never necessary and should always be a free choice. Aside from the risks that accompany any medical operation, there is nothing inherently wrong with plastic surgery as long as the surgeon is competent and the patient has realistic expectations.
One plastic surgery operation may yield a positive result, but multiple operations could have unintended consequences, such as blood clots, scarring, bruises, swelling, collapsed muscles, nerve damage, and infections. Many people who have plastic surgery regret it later because they are not satisfied with how they look afterwards. In some cases of addiction, people undergo more operations to correct previous ones. Multiple operations, even when performed correctly, sometimes result in an overall unnatural and bizarre appearance.
The Impact of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body dysmorphic disorder is a condition that causes a person to obsess over real or imagined “flaws” in their appearance. It affects both men and women and usually begins during their teenage years and early adulthood. Body dysmorphic disorder affects less than 3% of the population of the United States. Someone who is suffering from the disorder may spend hours every day thinking about their appearance or looking at themselves in the mirror, or sometimes they may go to great lengths to avoid seeing themselves at all. Additionally, they may exercise, change their clothes, or groom themselves excessively. Body dysmorphic disorder has the power to affect a person’s social life, since people with the disorder usually feel self-conscious and constantly compare themselves to others.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a common co-occurring disorder with plastic surgery addiction. Research has shown that the condition is 15 times more likely to be present in plastic surgery patients. This does not mean that anyone who ever has a cosmetic operation has a psychological problem, but body dysmorphic disorder is likely a major contributor to addiction to plastic surgery. Medication and therapy are the answers to body dysmorphic disorder. Plastic surgery is not the answer. In fact, plastic surgery addiction and body dysmorphic disorder are truly co-occurring because they build on one another. If plastic surgery doesn’t adequately “fix” someone’s appearance, they feel even worse about themselves and seek out more procedures, all the while leaving the body dysmorphic disorder active and untreated.
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Plastic Surgery Addiction and Drug Abuse
The aftermath of plastic surgery might require a person to use painkillers, many of which are addictive. If a person repeatedly undergoes plastic surgery, they may also repeatedly expose themselves to prescription opioids and thereby risk acquiring an opioid addiction. Addiction to opioids, both legal and illegal, kills hundreds of Americans every year. This is yet another danger of plastic surgery addiction. Furthermore, there is a correlation between substance abuse and mental illness. Since body dysmorphic disorder is the cause of many cases of plastic surgery addiction, someone who is addicted to plastic surgery may begin to abuse alcohol or illegal drugs to try to escape from their disappointment with their appearance.
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Finding Help with Plastic Surgery Addiction
Throughout the country, there are rehabilitation facilities that offer therapy and support for recovery from plastic surgery addiction. In particular, cognitive behavioral therapy may help people in recovery better understand how body dysmorphic disorder causes their addiction and overcome the obsessive feelings of low self-esteem which accompany the disorder. Plastic surgery should not control anyone’s life. If plastic surgery addiction is a challenge for you or anyone you know, please contact a dedicated treatment professional today for more information on what to do and where to go.
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