Why Plastic Surgery Won't Fix Body Dysmorphia
Why Body Dysmorphia Is the Hidden Killer
When you look into a mirror, what do you see?
Is it a happy person who is proud of themselves and their appearance or is it a disgruntled individual who only focuses on the flaws in their lives and appearance.
- Body dysmorphic disorder is an obsessive type of disorder where there's always a need to fix or hide imperfections that are not readily apparent to everyone else.
It's usually something small and irrelevant like mild acne or perhaps your nose is a little bit big or crooked.
If you ask a stranger on the street about these minor flaws, they probably won't even be able to see them unless you physically point them out. To them it's not a big issue, but to you it may seem like a tragedy.
Other common examples of people obsessing over their body are those who feel they are too fat or misshapen. This applies more closely to females than males although the overall prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder is nearly split by 50-50.
A great example of people who are too self-absorbed with their body weight are the gym rats you see exercising hardcore for several hours everyday. They might already be extremely fit and thin, but they still act like have hundreds of pounds to lose.
I don't want to generalize however because at least a few of those "gym rats" may be training for some sort of athletic event or competition. You can find out for yourself simply by striking up a conversion with them.
The last common example usually relates to a specific body part on the male and female anatomy and it's either the breasts, the butt, the pecs, or the abs. People usually become unsatisfied with the size and shape, or they feel there's too much fat around them.
Their concerns could be relevant if there is an obvious flaw, but it's often exaggerated to the point where the concerned take unnecessary or unusual steps to fix them.
How Plastic Surgery Can Become Obsessive
We know there are a few ways to fix body type issues, and the healthiest, most obvious choice is diet and exercise. For most people with a little bit of excess body fat, this choice is the best one to make.
Under the right diet and exercise regime a person could easily burn off a few extra pounds and get a tighter, firmer, and more in-shape figure. Unfortunately for those suffering with body dysmorphic disorder, this won't work.
It won't work because we're not talking about a physical problem, we're talking about a psychological problem. When normal people look in the mirror they see themselves as they really are, but people with this disorder see something entirely different.
They don't see a physically fit person, they see someone who is overweight and unattractive. Think of it as an extremely negative example of narcissistic personality disorder where the obsession all comes from a harmful place. You're obsessed with yourself, but you're not in love with yourself.
So when those victims feel that diet and exercise isn't working, they opt for a far more destructive option and that's often plastic surgery. They spend thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to tighten, staple, and suck out as much fat as humanly possible in order for them to feel happier about themselves.
The problem is that this happiness is usually fleeting and a few months later those same individuals want to go back under the knife in order to keep fixing and changing their body until they're satisfied. But they'll never ever be satisfied no matter how much money they spend and how many surgeries they receive.
They become addicted to plastic surgery and start fixing things that never needed fixing in the first place like their eyes, nose, cheeks, lips, arms, chin, and a score of other body parts. They fail to see how much money they're throwing away and most importantly how much damage they are doing to themselves.
Every time someone goes under the knife they are taking a huge risk with their lives. Complications with surgery rapidly rise with each succeeding nip and tuck until eventually something either goes wrong or your surgeon finally tells you it's not possible.
The Ugly Side of Beauty
There's a great irony for people who are constantly cutting themselves up through surgery to look beautiful.
How often do we see articles talking about or showing the before and after of celebrities who've had plastic surgery with headline titles showcasing the ugliness in the after image. This is because we often view celebrities as far more natural and attractive before they receive plastic surgery.
People with body dysmorphic disorder who think they finally look beautiful after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and getting everything done may in reality look far worse than they ever have before.
So we always ask people why they've done this to themselves when they looked attractive to begin with, but we fail to see that there are other factors in play. What we see and what they see will always be different, and this is why after multiple surgeries they may see a sexier being while we see the exact opposite.
And what's worse is that they'll never realize this unless they have people around them that can convince them to seek help for a real mental problem. Their plastic surgeons certainly won't tell them to stop coming in. I mean sure they'll warn them of the dangers, but unless another surgery is deadly then they'll continue to nip and tuck because they want to get paid.
But what about those suffering who don't have the money to get plastic surgery?
Since those people realize they don't have the money to physically fix their perceived flaws, they'll instead be more likely to conceal them from everyone else. Makeup is always a great way to hide something, but they'll also wear different types of clothing to hide what they don't want anyone to see or they'll hide from others by not leaving their home.
In extreme cases, they might take lethal action and use violent methods to fix their flaws and in can lead to death in the most extremist examples. Luckily only around 1-2 percent of the population has this disorder so cases of death as a result are highly unlikely. If death is the result, then it may be more due to very low levels of self-esteem that result in depression than the disorder itself.
It's very possible that an individual suffers from a collection of mental disorders and illnesses, and the combination of them can result in deadly measures.
The Benefits of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
If you're cognitive of the symptoms and the disorder hasn't gotten out of hand, then it's very possible to treat and heal it before you proceed with unnecessary steps to fix your flaws.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is the most common way to treat this disorder although medications may also be prescribed as either an alternate method or used in combination with CBT. The combination treatment tends to be the most effective not only for body dysmorphic disorder but for a mass variety of other psychological disorders and illnesses.
You should also surround yourself with people who care about you and will help in your time of need. I stated those with BDD will not always know they have a problem, so it's up to friends and family members to intervene and let you know that you've taken things too far.
Under the best conditions, you'll be able to rid yourself of BDD in a relatively short amount of time and you'll save a lot of time and money while sparing your health. Under the worst conditions, you might end up jobless, penniless, disfigured, and stuck in endless obsession that can end tragically.
Don't let things get that far and be cognizant of how you feel, the things you do, and any dangerous actions you proceed with.