Last year, D-list celebrity and former ‘The Hills’ star Heidi Montag famously underwent 10 different plastic surgeries in one sitting. From a brow lift, breast augmentation, dermal fillers and liposuction, to rhinoplasty (nose job), chin reduction and Anti Wrinkle Injections, Heidi had it all done. But despite undergoing these procedures with the supervision of highly skilled and experienced plastic surgeon, Montag emerged virtually unrecognisable – a kind of human Barbie doll with oversized breasts, overly shiny face and, perhaps hardest to explain, much older than she looked before the procedures. But with all the best intentions, how was it possible that well performed plastic surgery (both invasive and non-invasive) can have a negative impact on someone’s appearance. The clear answer is, because when Heidi began her transformation, she didn’t simply wish to enhance her appearance, she wanted to ‘eliminate’ her flaws.
According to Montag herself, she,“…got too caught up in Hollywood, being so into myself and my image. I don’t regret anything, but if I could go back, I wouldn’t do it.” Unfortunately, there are many men and women like Heidi, who get caught up in their own image, whether they are famous or not. And the most common name for this condition is Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD.
Obsession or healthy concern?
Body Dysmorphic disorder occurs when asomeone focuses heavily on one or more perceived defects in their appearance. But more than being simply unhappy with the perceived defect, it actually begins to affect their day-to-day lives. That’s why for many of these people, plastic surgery becomes a band-aid measure to allay these anxieties. Unfortunately, for someone who suffers from BDD, they will often continue to obsess on their flaws, or even find new ones. This is why we see both celebrities and regular people ‘addicted’ to plastic surgery. Not because they love it, but because they get trapped in an often vicious cycle of self-loathing.
But to get an idea of just how many people suffering from BDD seek plastic surgery, a new study recently completed in Belgium sheds light on the frightening statistics. The study conducted interviews with 266 patients of plastic surgeons. These patients were coming into the surgeons’ offices to address concerns with their noses. But while among those who had purely functional issues with their nose (difficulty breathing, etc.) only 2% of these patients displayed the symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, for those seeking rhinoplasty (a nose job), 33%displayed the symptoms of moderate to severe BDD.
Am I suffering from BDD?
Whether you are seeking rhinoplasty, a breast augmentation, liposuction, or just a few Anti Wrinkle injections, it is important that you are doing it for the right reasons. If you are seeking cosmetic surgery to correct a perceived ‘fault’ in your appearance, this can be perfectly natural. However, if this fault is something you are fixated on every day, to the point it interferes with your daily life, often the problem is psychological rather than physical. BDD sufferers, for example, will see a slight asymmetry as a disfigurement, a small bump on the nose as the size of a melon – obvious to all who they come into contact with- and so on.
If this is you, just know that no amount of plastic surgery will solve your perceived imperfection. The place to solve it is in your own mind.