It might start with one ‘little’ thing that you want to change about your body. After complete recovery, you forget about the torture and the pain. You only notice what has changed, and – all of a sudden – cosmetic surgery seems to be quite trouble-free and just worth doing. Why not continue working on your physical appearance, also because never ending self-development is considered necessary in today’s makeover culture?
Like anything else, having cosmetic surgery done can lead to an addiction. But where does feeling the need for countless surgeries come from? About two percent of the US-American population is affected by a mental illness called body dimorphic disorder (BDD). People who have this illness suffer from a preoccupation with their body image. Someone with BDD thinks that one or more features of his body have a conspicuous defect. Apart from hard work on the self (e.g. diets, workout…), cosmetic surgeries intend to correct these defects, but due to the totally distorted introspection of BDD sufferers a constant need for cosmetic surgery can develop. Nontheless, cosmetic surgery addiction is not necessarily caused by this illness. A person affected by BDD is in fact not content after the surgery, so there is still an urgent need for another or a lot more cosmetic procedures, either on the same body part or on another. Since the feeling of ugliness stays omnipresent, BDD sufferers can develop an addiction to cosmetic surgeries.
Environmental factors are considered to be one possible cause of BDD and thus addiction to cosmetic surgery. Still, these factors also concern people who do not suffer from BDD and who are addicted to cosmetic surgery due to other reasons. But how come? In today’s society and culture, people define themselves by their physical appearance. Thus, beauty and superficiality are valued over issues like self-acceptance or inner worth. Unfortunately, this is another reason for the growing trend of (addiction to) cosmetic surgeries.
Generally, there seems to be a never ending dissatisfaction with the own body (and longing for abiding beauty) in today’s society, which leads to the ‘need’ for more and more surgeries. In fact, these surgeries are unnecessary, but they are indispensable for the respective person. As I mentioned, illness or obsession is one reason for that. Moreover, patients tend to have completely unrealistic expectations or are impossible to please which is why they are always longing for more and more ‘improvement’ of their physical appearance.
Unfortunately, cosmetic surgeries (and the addiction to them) can also result in the complete opposite of admirable beauty. One example could be Michael Jackson. He claimed to have three cosmetic surgeries done even though professional surgeons estimate the number at around 30 surgeries. He and his grotesque physical appearance show what can be caused by too many cosmetic surgeries. Furthermore, the fact that there was so much work done upon his nose shows that he also suffered from never ending dissatisfaction (at least about the nose as one particular feature). I do not consider the result of Michael Jackson’s surgery mania beautiful or admiring. I personally think that he should be a warning for us all.