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Everyone wants to look as good as they can. But can the desire to look good lead to plastic surgery addiction? The answer may surprise you.

If you can afford a little nip and tuck and would feel better about yourself, what’s wrong with having some work done? But can a little work here and there turn into something more? For some people, the answer is yes. Plastic surgery can become addictive.

The Desire for Perfection

You have probably heard sayings, such as “beauty is only skin deep” or “it’s what’s on the inside that counts.”  In an ideal world, looks should not count as much as they do. But let’s face it, appearance matters. From your love life to job opportunities, people are judged in part on their looks.

The emphasis placed on looks by society has led to a billion dollar business. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic surgery continues to be on the rise. Not only are adults in their 50s and 60s going under the knife, but more and more young people are having procedures, such as Botox performed.

It’s difficult to pinpoint why plastic surgery continues to rise. It’s likely a combination of factors. Between the internet and the influx of social media sites, we as a culture are bombarded with images of perfect faces and bodies. After all, social media is all about being seen. It’s not a surprise that people are influenced by the pictures they see, which makes them people strive to achieve the same perfection.

Today’s “camera culture” may also be fueling the desire to look a certain way. For some people, their latest selfie triggers feelings of wanting to improve some aspect of their appearance. 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

It is one thing to want to change an imperfection, and it’s another to be obsessed with a certain aspect of your appearance. Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition that involves obsessing over a body imperfection, whether the flaw is real or perceived. It’s the main cause of plastic surgery addiction.  

People with body dysmorphic disorder spend a great deal of time obsessing over their body image. They may see a minor imperfection as disfiguring, which impacts their ability to function normally.

Symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder induce extreme self-consciousness, being preoccupied with appearance and avoiding social situations. People who have body dysmorphic disorder may also spend a large amount of time looking in mirror fixating over certain aspects of their appearance, such as their skin or nose. Depression and anxiety may also be accompanying symptoms.

The reason some people develop body dysmorphic disorder is not fully understood. It could be a combination of genetics, brain chemistry and life experiences, which negatively affected self-image.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of American, body dysmorphic disorder often starts in young adulthood. The condition appears to affect men and women about equally.

In addition to undergoing seemingly unnecessary plastic surgery procedures, people with the disorder may also develop social isolation. The condition is sometimes misdiagnosed as social anxiety or obsessive- compulsive disorder. Although it can have similar symptoms, body dysmorphic disorder is a separate mental health condition.

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