What Is Cosmetic Surgery Addiction?

Kelly Ferguson

Individuals who are otherwise happy with their bodies may sometimes wish to have a cosmetic surgery procedure done to improve one thing that they feel needs to be fixed. In a person with healthy self-esteem and without cosmetic surgery addiction, the individual's brush with cosmetic surgery will most likely end after that single procedure. Some people take it too far, however, and fall into an addictive mindset, wanting more and more procedures to be done whether the surgeries are reasonable or not. Some people, such as attention seekers or those with certain mental disorders, may be more prone to cosmetic surgery addiction than others, but seemingly ordinary people can also get swept up in the rush of plastic surgery.

A woman preparing to get cosmetic surgery.
A woman preparing to get cosmetic surgery.

Some psychologists and plastic surgeons believe that cosmetic surgery addiction stems from the "high" that some patients get after having a procedure done. With that one surgery, the patient gets an instant boost of self-esteem and happiness, and often he or she will also be the subject of a lot of attention and compliments from friends and family members. Some people might also enjoy the adrenaline rush of spending a large amount of money and undergoing a risky procedure, but this type is less common than those who simply enjoy the positive benefits. When the attention and the boost of self-esteem wear off, the individual is left feeling the same as before the procedure, and might at this point want further surgeries to bring back that elated feeling. This is the beginning of cosmetic surgery addiction.

Cosmetic surgeries are often performed with a scalpel.
Cosmetic surgeries are often performed with a scalpel.

Plastic surgeons frequently encounter patients with a mental condition known as body dysmorphic disorder, which makes the patient believe him- or herself to be hideous or deformed. Naturally, he or she will want to get surgery to fix the problem, but unfortunately, the patient rarely ends up satisfied with the results because the problem did not lie with the physical body in the first place, and was instead a mental issue. Patients with this or similar mental issues, such as severely low self-esteem, are much more likely to become addicted to plastic surgery in several attempts to fix whatever they believe to be "wrong" with their bodies. Even with multiple procedures completed, they are likely to still be fixated on the same problem, and may pursue further surgeries when most surgeons would not feel comfortable continuing to operate on the same area.

Besides costing the patient a lot of money, cosmetic surgery addiction can have very sad consequences. As illustrated publicly by several celebrities, too much plastic surgery can lead to a very fake, stretched appearance. Sometimes the person becomes nearly unrecognizable. This affects aspects of the person's entire life, from personal relationships to his or her public image. The negative comments and feedback sometimes only serve to lower the individual's self-esteem further, making it more likely that he or she will begin to desire another cosmetic procedure.

Some plastic surgeons believe that cosmetic surgery addiction stems from a "high" that some patients get after having a procedure done.
Some plastic surgeons believe that cosmetic surgery addiction stems from a "high" that some patients get after having a procedure done.

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