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Most people are concerned about their appearance. We all
strive to stay thin and fit, look our best and wear clothing and styles that
flatter. However, for some people, obsessions with appearance can become more
than just a passing thought. They can become addictions or compulsive types of
behaviors that have far reaching consequences. Often the obsession with
appearance starts in the teen years, but there are people well into their adult
years that suddenly develop an obsession with appearance. These obsessions
often lead to the same problems as typical types of addictions with breakdowns
in relationships, financial manipulation and even using unlicensed and
unregulated “professionals” to complete procedures that qualified
surgeons and doctors refuse to perform.
There are many socially acceptable types of practices that
are used to change a person’s appearance. They can be medical in nature and
very appropriate for the patient. Plastic surgery of all types, including
procedures such as liposuction, bariatric surgery and body lifts are considered
to be common practice today. Typically with medical procedures performed in the
United States, evaluations of the patient’s mental health status and overall
health are performed before the procedure. This is most commonly seen in
patients that are undergoing weight loss procedures because of health reasons
as opposed to for aesthetic purposes.
Plastic surgery to improve breasts, lips, eyes, noses,
facial structure and overall body shape are also common and very accepted in
society today. These procedures are done for purely aesthetic purposes and
often provide patients with a better sense of self-esteem. However, multiple
procedures or the chronic need to continue to “improve” on self image
can become obsessive. Not only can this obsession create a greater risk for
botched procedures, it can also be deadly. Research into obsessions or
addictions with self-improvement through elective types of plastic surgery is
ongoing, with increasing demands for mental health evaluations to be completed
before multiple procedures are performed.