Surgical Addiction

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Patrick McGimpsey
Psychology 101
Ryan Robb
07/27/12
Surgical Addiction
Surgical addiction or body dysmorphic disorder is defined as “a problem in which a person has repeated unnecessary cosmetic surgery procedures.” (Gwinnell, Adamec pg. 75) Sufferers feel compelled to have multiple cosmetic surgeries to fix real or imagined physical imperfections. After one procedure is performed patients will find and obsess over another defect and get another surgery. This becomes a regular routine and multiple cosmetic surgeries are conducted over short periods of time. Although more common in women this disorder occurs in males as well. It is an unfortunate fact that many people equate physical appearance with self-worth. They feel low self-esteem and hide themselves from everyone else despite when family and friends telling them they look normal. Many of these people may have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). They unrealistically view themselves as unattractive or physically flawed. Around 7 percent of patients who present themselves to cosmetic surgeons have BDD. It is estimated that 2 percent of the population have BDD. Surgical addiction can potentially do the opposite of what the patient wants. Severe disfigurement can occur after having multiple surgeries. The bodies of many BDD sufferers are covered with scars. Damage to cartilage, skin, and muscle tone is a frequent problem. There have been many studies on surgical addiction. One unique study was conducted by psychiatrist David Veale. He studied 25 patients with BDD who had the collective total of 46 cosmetic surgeries. After the surgeries dissatisfaction was transferred to another part of the body. He stated, “When patients were dissatisfied with their operation, they…felt guilty or angry with themselves or the surgeon for having made their appearance worse…this in turn tended to increase mirror gazing and craving for more surgery.” Nine of the cases that Veale studied could not...
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