Body dismorphic disorder is a fairly recently documented problem, believed to have emerged after the prominence of the field of cosmetic surgery. People with this problem develop a psychological problem that forces them to see physical flaws in their body when there are none. The disorder can destroy relationships,leave people bankrupt, and have disastrous effects on a person’s self-esteem if cut off without proper therapy.
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Plastic surgery can sometimes be beneficial to people. It provides a quick solution for people who have far too much meat on the bones for their own good. It can help people overcome horrible accidents by covering up the physical remnants of those events. It can sometimes even help a person overcome social anxiety by boosting their self-esteem. However, there is a darker side to plastic surgery. It is a dark side that is both deeply rooted in a person’s mental health and capable of utterly destroying someone. Plastic surgery patients can sometimes develop the dark side of cosmetic augmentation, known as body dismorphic disorder. In some circles, this problem is known simply as “surgical addiction.”
People with this particular problem may not come across as having anything wrong about them. At least, they don’t appear to be so at first. It will take more than just one or two surgical procedures to achieve a person’s “perfect body.” This is because the body needs to be given time to heal after a procedure, and having multiple procedures done at one time can be disastrous. However, the problem for people with body dismorphic disorder is that they are psychologically incapable of achieving the “perfect body.” The alignment of their mental health is askew such that there will always be something about their physical appearance that needs to be fixed.
There are several factors that can lead a person to develop body dismorphic disorder. A number of these factors can stem from the person’s mental health or environment. Factors such as an anxiety disorder or dissatisfaction with the effects of weight loss pills may not always cause problems to occur. It can be safely assumed that body dismorphic disorder is an extreme reaction to the above examples, however. This, combined with the mental health effects of being exposed to the “physical ideal” of the media, can lead to a person developing this “addiction.” The problem with this “addiction” is that it is not always a simple matter to detect the problem in a patient at the early stages.
The main sign that someone has the disorder is that their mental health is always telling them that there is something wrong with their body. However, differentiating this from simple dissatisfaction with a person’s physical appearance can sometimes be difficult early on. A woman who goes to a plastic surgeon for a breast augmentation procedure may or may not have the disorder. In most cases, a patient who goes to a plastic surgeon regularly for a variety of strictly cosmetic procedures might be labeled as having the disorder. However, just because someone is obsessive about achieving the “perfect form” does not automatically mark that person’s mental health as being questionable.
In some cases, the procedures need not be different from one another. There are stories of people in counseling because were sent there because they developed an “addiction” to liposuction. The mental health issues brought about by of this disorder can sometimes take a back seat to the physical health concerns. Other concerns include what this disorder can do to a person’s relationships. Finally, there is the concern that some plastic surgeons might not warn patients when they have had too many procedures.
Excessive cosmetic surgery can put the body at serious risk, particularly if only a single area has been targeted. Excessive work on the nasal areas can eventually cause the nasal cavity to collapse, rendering that area damaged beyond repair. An addiction to liposuction, when combined with poor eating habits, can ruin the digestive tract and forever distort the patient’s physical frame.
The emotional toll this can take on the people around the patient must also be considered. Plastic surgery is not a cheap thing, and having multiple procedures done within a short span of time can drastically strain a person’s finances. Aside from that, most people with this disorder tend to push their loved ones away by ignoring their pleas to stop. In one instance, a wife alienated her husband and children after she sold their house to finance “just one last liposuction.” It is an extreme example, but it is a distinct possibility.
There also has to be a set limit on just how far plastic surgery offices can actually go to accommodate their clients. It can be difficult to discern whether or not a person actually needs to undergo cosmetic surgery, with the standards of beauty being so subjective. When does “just another nose job” turn into “one nose job too many”?