“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, a very common saying that we have been listening to from a long time but the question is do we really believe in this thought. The craze for beauty and perfection has become one of the leading sources of economy these days. The beauty industry seems to keep growing and making new products everyday to satisfy it’s user. But for some where beauty and appearance is number one priority the only solution they can turn to is plastic surgery.
Plastic surgery has become more of a trend these days. Earlier people were not so bothered by their appearance and hence it did not have such a huge importance. But in todays generation, plastic surgery seems to be gaining a lot of attention. So why exactly has plastic surgery gained so much importance over the years? That is a thought to ponder upon. Today fashion, beauty and fitness seem to be the most trending topics and everyone wants to look slim and beautiful. But they do not want to wait for results; they want it instantly. According to me plastic surgery is a form of art. It isn’t easy to modify something and give it a completely new structure. It requires time, patience and skill. But a lot of people seem to not know when to stop with this obsession. The need to look picture perfect has become an necessity more than a requirement and has lead to plastic surgery addiction.
It always start’s with a small step. First it begins with covering a scar or maybe fixing a deformity. Slowly it looks like there is a problem with most of your body and it needs to be fixed. The need for fixing this problem becomes an obsession and leads to an addiction. This is a kind of disorder and it does not come cheap. People spend millions of dollars on this, trying to fix their imperfections but still end up being unsatisfied. The main cause of this is social media. The way people portray themselves on social media gives many people who are insecure about their body a wrong idea and they start feeling uncomfortable in their own skin. Once you start feeling insecure about your body then it becomes like a compulsion to fix your body. Few people retort to exercise, diet, yoga, etc; but a few who belong to the lazy bunch need an easy solution to every problem and so they turn towards plastic surgery.
Plastic surgery is of no harm till it becomes an addiction. The body has to overcome so many constant changes that eventually it might not be able to keep up. Many a times continuous plastic surgery can lead to post surgery trauma. Of course there are benefits out of plastic surgery but I think there are even more drawbacks to it. Its just that people are not well aware of the harm they will be causing to themselves.
DRAWBACKS OF PLASTIC SURGERY
So one might think what could fixing a problem through surgery possibly do. Well there are quite a few answers to that. Plastic surgery isn’t just about making you feel beautiful and confident about yourself, sometimes it can worsen situations. Once you begin to believe that plastic surgery can fix your problems you start becoming its slave or in simple words it starts attracting you and soon you will be spending thousands and millions of dollars on plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is recommended by your surgeon when there seems to be no other way to fix your problems and in some case’s it is very beneficial. Whereas in some cases that involve cosmetic surgery it can ruin the structure of your face or body if it goes wrong.
Major drawbacks of plastic surgery include Hematoma, Seroma, Blood loss, Infection, Nerve damage, Blood clots, Organ damage, Scarring, etc which can have a huge impact on your body. Even though this procedure causes a lot of pain and requires a lot of patience, people will be ready to undergo it all over again just for the need to look perfect. No one seems to pay attention to how their body will react to the operation post-surgery. Like the common saying “everything that glitter’s is not gold”; to achieve your goal you either chose the path of hardship or the easy way out of it all. Having thing’s the easy way has become a trend in today’s generation.
Another aspect is that plastic surgery isn’t cheap. It comes with a huge cost. Some people have had post-surgery complications that usually involves infection at the site of surgery. This complication does no good to you. Instead it will ruin the site of surgery and make you look ten times worse. These complications, however, are mentioned by the doctor well in advance. Despite this people opt for this surgery, trying to fix their flaws. In the worst case, plastic surgery can also lead to death as the infection that develops post-surgery can also spread to other parts of your body.
Another drawback is the drug use. These operations are very painful as they are trying to change the structure of your body and hence it involves a lot of medication. The patient will have to take medicine prior to surgery and then after surgery the medication increases three fold as the patient will require strong pain killers to numb the pain in their body. This is a long process as your body needs to heal and adjust to the change. Such a long use of drugs can often lead to drug abuse (generally opoids). The dosage of the medicines need to be high in order for the patient to not feel any discomfort after surgery. The medication will usually involve pain killers and antibiotics to prevent infection. In some complicated cases even steroids need to be administered. Such a high dosage of drugs will have a huge impact on the liver and kidneys as well. These drugs also have side effects. It is very easy to get addicted to these drugs as the patient consumes them for a period of time. In addition to this they also have a prescription that gives them the key to these drugs. Once consuming these medicines becomes a habit it is very difficult to stop using them. Repeated plastic surgery gives the person the opportunity to use these drugs over and over again; Harming the body and destroying their mental health. Several patients have blamed plastic surgery for their cause of drug addiction. Even the singer, Kanye west, has blamed his drug addiction to plastic surgeries.
There are several reasons as to why people undergo plastic surgery. For some it is a requirement, for example to fix a scar after an accident or to remove burn marks. Plastic surgery dies wonder to these patients by removing their scar like it was never there. Another category involves people who look at their body as flawed. These people mostly opt for cosmetic surgeries. But there might be danger here, as some people who believe that their body has defects, when seen otherwise, might be suffering from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This is where the doctor needs to pay attention and proceed with caution.
A case study done by Shangai Archives of Psychiatry on a 19 yrs old boy proves that BDD can be dangerous and sometimes misdiagnosed as depression. The case report describes a 19-year-old male with BDD who had delusional-intensity beliefs about facial disfigurement that had gradually intensified over a 2-year period. However, he was initially misdiagnosed with depression partly because he was admitted immediately after a suicide attempt that was associated with depressive symptoms and social withdrawal, symptoms that subsequently proved to be secondary to his BDD. The symptoms resolved completely, and his social functioning returned to normal after 8 weeks of inpatient treatment with fluoxetine and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Another similar case study by Dr. M. Senthil, involves that of a index patient 23 year old, male, single, educated up to 10th std. Family presented with the complaints of Excessive thinking about ugliness of face, Remain to be alone, and Decreased social interaction for the past 6 years. Patient was apparently alright six years back. One day his friends started to comment about his face that he has ugliness of face and also they started to tease him about his height and his body shape. Later he started to think about his face and body shape, and he started to watch the mirror frequently and measure his height frequently. By noticing his behaviour, his parents asked him about it. He explained about this and demanded to consult a physician. Subsequently his interaction pattern started to decrease. He used to spend more time alone at home and he would not go out of the house. His sleep had decreased subsequently and he started to cover his face by clothes. On MSE he was unkempt and tidy, fat body build, age appropriate, uncooperative, rapport could not be established, normal psychomotor activity, soft, decreased reaction time dysphoric, appropriate and communicable affect, repeated thought, delusion of persecution impaired judgment and grade one insight. Thus Psycho-social interventions play an important role in determination of treatment outcomes. It has been shown to improve patient compliance to medication and the retention of patients in treatment.
Thus from these two case studies we can visualize the seriousness of the situation before it is too late. These two boy would have ended up loosing their life if not for the help and treatment they received. This disorder is what leads to an addiction to plastic surgery as the patient is not able to accept his/her body. These people are usually delusional. They find a compulsive need to fix their deformities even though they would look normal to another person. This disorder develops over a period of time. When a person’s insecurities grow to another extent it could lead to this disorder.
So what could be the cause for people to undergo this painful process? Well the answer is clear. For a lot of people appearance is what matters the most. Some might watch actors, actresses, body influencers undergoing these surgeries and get influenced to do the same. Some die hard fans do this to impress their role models. But this should not be encouraged. Another reason is body-shamers. There are a lot of people who shame other people for how they look. Even actors go through this torture. This is one of the rising reasons for people to undergo plastic surgery. Some harsh words or taunts might actually influence or hurt someone and make them believe that they are imperfect. This is unfair and cruel. A lot of problems arising these days are mainly created by us. If people stop body shaming others and help others to start loving their body a lot of these problems could be solved.
MAKE A CHANGE
Plastic surgery addiction might sound like a normal addiction problem but it requires our serious attention; especially with today’s increasing demand in plastic surgery. It could be difficult for these victims to try talking about their situation and asking for help, but the people around them need to be attentive and positive. Taking their negative behaviour lightly can lead them to depression, anxiety and other mental problems. Thus several changes could be made to help the victims of BDD. First is boosting self-confidence. Self-confidence is basically the key to happiness. Believing in yourself and your abilities is the most powerful weapon anyone can have today. This process will take a long time but will help the patient eventually in looking at their body in a positive way. Second is stop body shaming. A lot of social media influencers are trying to create awareness about body shaming and helping other people see its impact. If this could be practised by everyone then there would be no insecurities with respect to one’s body. The best way is self-motivation. Start loving your body and accept your flaws. Be confident with how you look and embrace it. There is nothing more stunning than a confident person. Be a role model to others and help them out by advising them how to deal with such problems.
Today a lot of actors having taken this issue seriously and are trying to make a change. Even a small change can help a lot of people. As for the people who get addicted to drugs because of their repeated surgeries should get help. For patients who have already become a victim to BDD psychiatric help is very necessary. The symptoms should be noticed at the earliest and treated otherwise with the delay the patient could end up taking their own life out of hatred for their body. The minute someone decides to undergo plastic surgery attention should be given to them so as to avoid drug abuse or addiction. With a little self- care and love and attention from others everything can be solved. Its better to start noticing people with this type of mental condition now before its too late to save them.
There is an important lesson from this that today’s generation need to learn and understand; that is beauty comes from within and not from just physical appearances. Your personality shows who you really are. No one is perfect, we are all flawed; but we need to learn to love our flaws too and that’s when life truly becomes meaningful. Judging people based on their appearance or mocking them can lead to degrading that person’s self-esteem. This behaviour should not be encouraged in any way as it begins to affect their mental health and soon before you even realise it, you have led another person to depression. We should watch our actions and think before speaking to someone. If such behaviour is seen in school’s it should be taken care of immediately. Small children learn the foundation of their values from a young age and watching such behaviour will give them an idea that there is nothing wrong in taunting someone. If we try and correct ourselves or even for a second put ourselves in the other persons shoe’s we will be able to understand better and help in putting an end to this cruelty.
In conclusion I would like to stress on the point that we can all take a step towards change by encouraging self-love and helping others to do the same. We should keep in mind that there is no distinction between shape and size, what truly matters is what kind of person you are at the end of the day. But meanwhile more awareness should be created about this topic so as to save a lot of lives. Prevention is always better than cure. With therapy sessions or talking to a shrink and gaining support from friends and family the patient can recover from BDD and live a happy life ahead. However, therapy and regaining self-confidence won’t be easy but its worth the time; as it will help save a life. It’s never too late to make a change.