Cosmetic Surgery: Obsession and Addiction

When people hear the words addiction and obsession they usually think of drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse is one of the most known and common dependencies, but obsession or addiction can manifest in many forms. One very serious addiction that is overlooked today is plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery addiction. Addiction to plastic surgery falls into a category of addiction known as process or behavioral addiction. As the name suggests, a person is addicted to a specific behavior despite knowing the negative consequences. Unlike drug addicts, who suffer from addiction to chemicals, plastic surgery addicts experience a mental obsession of altering their face and body. This addiction most often stems from underlying insecurities and the desire to look a certain way that fits their idea or society’s idea of beauty.

Most people who undergo plastic surgery will have one surgery or two and be satisfied with the results. Some people need plastic surgery for corrective and reconstructive procedures. However, any man or woman who often goes for cosmetic changes might be suffering from underlying emotional or mental issues. They use surgery as a means to get over their insecurities. Most often, they don’t realize this and so don’t seek any help. There are no actual laws that deny a person from undergoing plastic surgery a large number of times and if the patient has the money to pay for the surgery, most doctors will perform. Although, there are a few regulations on how many procedures a person can have in one session, but there is no actual limit to the number a person can have in a lifetime. Thus, plastic surgery addicts continue with their obsession until they are personally satisfied with the results. This might mean 5 procedures for some and 20 for others.

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Obsessed With The Idea Of Perfection

If you watch any American reality TV shows starring beautiful people, you will see that they are cultivating and promoting something – the pursuit of perfection. In fact it’s not just TV, but the whole American entertainment industry, that is obsessed with perfection. Beautiful people may be eye candy, but where do we draw the line? It’s very difficult to resist because it’s reinforced everywhere in the media – newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio, movies and TV advertisements. In today’s society, the concept of beauty is very skewed and many people believe that they will only be accepted if they have the same features as movie and TV stars. Many plastic surgery addicts go to extreme measures to get the perfect breasts, chin, lips and face, but what they don’t realize is there is no such thing as a perfect body or perfect face. These cultural and societal messages feed the deep insecurities among many people and encourage us to believe that we should be something different than who we are.

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It’s easy to be swept up by the fear that our normal selves are not enough. We think that our normal selves are not smart enough, pretty enough, thin or tall enough to be accepted by the current standards of beauty. Of course, there is nothing wrong with taking pleasure in making ourselves presentable and well-groomed. In this modern culture, it is expected to pay attention to what we look like if we are to successfully market ourselves or in some cases, keep our jobs.

The Numbers              

The United States is popularly known as the country that performs the most plastic surgeries in the world. The American Society For Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has reported that there were more than 11 million cosmetic procedures performed in 2013. Since 1997, the total number of cosmetic procedures increased by 279%! Cosmetic surgical procedures like breast augmentation, facelift and liposuction have increased by 89%. Nonsurgical procedures on the other hand like chemical peels, dermabrasions and Botox increased by 521%!

In 2013, Americans spent more than $12 billion on cosmetic procedures alone, 90.6% of the patients being women. According to these numbers, there’s no question that cosmetic plastic surgery is big business. There’s also no question that people of all ages are swept up by the desire to have a perfect look. We can say that these people are not only obsessed but also possessed by the continued pursuit to be flawless.

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Treating The Addiction

Plastic and cosmetic surgery addiction treatment is not as advanced as compared to treatments for alcohol and drug addiction. The lack of attention to this kind of addiction means that treatments commonly involve generalized approaches. Psychotherapy and counseling are helpful in identifying and dealing with any self-esteem issues that commonly underline the addiction. For most people, the key to beating body dysmorphia and overcoming plastic surgery addiction is to see themselves in a more realistic way.

Plastic surgery is not a curse, but if it consumes your time and energy, it is time to get some help. Anyone can overcome this type of addiction by learning how to feel good about themself and accepting who they are and what they’re capable of. Remember: beauty fades, but the true you will never go away.


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