Plastic surgeon Dr Robert Guida takes us inside plastic surgery addiction. Being addicted to cosmetic surgery may be a sign of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, according to this Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon who works at the New York Center for Plastic Surgery.
Dr Guida describes his experiences with people who have may be addicted to lip enhancements, nose jobs (rhinoplasties), and face lifts.
First, here’s what a cover girl says about being beautiful:
“I’ve been on the cover of every magazine in the world,” says supermodel Janice Dickinson. “But as a young model, I never felt as beautiful as I looked. I masked it well with alcoholism. I grew up in an abusive home and was told on a daily basis by my father that I would never amount to anything and that I looked like a boy. One of the main reasons I had a lot of plastic surgery was because of the voice of my father. I’ve had my boobs and eyes done, my forehead lifted, and my stomach done. I’m addicted to cosmetic surgery! But plastic surgery hasn’t stifled the voice from my father.”
Plastic surgery doesn’t change the messages you received as a child, or the messages you’re continuing to receive as an adult. To learn more about plastic surgery addiction, read Surgery Junkies: Wellness and Pathology in Cosmetic Culture.
And, here’s what Dr. Guida’s says about men and women addicted to plastic surgeries such as nose jobs and lip enhancement surgeries.
Plastic Surgery Addiction
How do you know if you’re addicted to one of the different types of plastic surgery?
“Patients who do not have addictions are satisfied when they walk away after surgery,” says Dr. Guida. “Addicts think just one more procedure (and then another, and another, and another) will make them look perfect.”
Body Dysmorphic Disoder
“Plastic surgery addiction can be the result of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is a negative preoccupation with physical appearance in a highly-exaggerated way,” says Dr. Guida.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder involves an exaggerated concern about a minimal physical defect. Body Dysmorphic Disorder interferes with daily functioning in a significant way, and appears to others as an extreme self-obsession or self-absorption with one’s appearance. Other symptoms of BDD involve a refusal to be social because of an obsession with physical flaws. People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder don’t want to be seen.
Dr. Guida explains that Body Dysmorphic Disorder sufferers are at a greater risk of becoming plastic surgery addicts, because they don’t have a healthy body image.
Are you thinking about getting plastic surgery? Read Tips From Women Who Are Happy With the Way Their Bodies Look for a different perspective.
Addicted to Nose Jobs – A Common Cosmetic Surgery
Dr. Guida has seen several patients with addictions to nose jobs and lip enhancement treatments.
“One female I saw had nine or ten nose jobs. She was seeing doctors all over the country,” says Dr. Guida. “I didn’t treat her because she had extremely unrealistic expectations and her behavior (having multiple nose jobs) was obviously unhealthy.”
It’s not just women who struggle with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or an addiction to plastic surgery. “One of my male patients kept getting nose jobs to make his nose progressively smaller and smaller.”
When is Plastic Surgery Addictive?
Dr. Guida says, “Plastic surgery is addictive when the patient has unrealistic expectations and is doing more harm than good to their appearance. One or two nose jobs is okay and can be necessary, especially if someone had a botched job from a poor plastic surgeon the first time. But nine or ten nose jobs? That’s completely unnecessary and the person is seeking a look that is not achievable or not natural looking and – and it could actually make them look worse.”
This unhealthy obsession can go beyond nose job addictions. “I see patients with addictions to lip enhancements all the time. I even had to ban a couple of women from my office when they wouldn’t stop coming in. The results of Restylane and Juvederm [crystal gels that fill out lips and smooth wrinkles] last from 6 – 9 months. It’s fine if a patient gets it once and has a touch up a week later, after the swelling has gone down. But I’ve seen patients come in for treatments every two or three weeks. That is way too often.”
Treatment for Plastic Surgery Addictions
If Dr. Guida thinks a patient is coming in too often for treatments or procedures they don’t need and might have an addiction, he tells them he can’t treat them anymore and refers them to a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, there are always doctors out there who will treat them, so he often doesn’t know if they simply go to another plastic surgeon….or if they actually get the help they need.
For more tips on cosmetic surgery, read Thinking About Getting Plastic Surgery? The Best Place to Start.
If you have any questions or thoughts on cosmetic surgery addiction or Body Dysmorphic Disorder, please comment below…
For more information about Dr. Robert Guida, visit the New York Center for Plastic Surgery.
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.