There’s no cosmetic fix for mental health

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There’s no cosmetic fix for mental health

There’s no cosmetic fix for mental health

Getting a cosmetic procedure is an exciting time as patients have the chance to eliminate insecurities and reveal the best version of themselves. After a procedure, men and women report increased levels of confidence and a higher self-esteem. Plastic surgery is a dream come true, but the results can turn into a nightmare for patients who suffer from mental health diseases that affect their body perception. Mental health disorders affect millions of Americans from all walks of life. When you combine BDD, depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns with cosmetic enhancement procedures, it often leads people deeper into their struggles. Your plastic surgeon cares about your overall health, so be honest with medical professionals about your history with mental illness and your goals for the cosmetic operation.


To start, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder where people are overly concerned with their physical appearance. Not all plastic surgery patients have a disorder, but relentless cosmetic alterations can be a sign of BDD. This leads to people who are dissatisfied with their results and obsessed with their appearance on an unhealthy level. Patients with a history of depression, anxiety or low self-esteem are more likely to be unhappy with the results of their operation.

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A temporary fix and a sensitive topic

People who suffer from BDD and other mental illnesses often undergo surgical enhancements. This temporary fix boosts self-confidence at the present but can lead to long-term unhappiness. Young plastic surgery patients are especially vulnerable to mental health concerns related to cosmetic procedures. Plastic surgeons are often not aware of underlying mental health conditions, so it’s important for patients to share this information. If plastic surgeons know about mental health disorders, they can offer better patient care.

If cosmetic surgeons notice mental conditions, they recommend patients visit a therapist before undergoing a procedure. This is a difficult conversation to have. One of the challenges for plastic surgeons is that mental health is a sensitive topic for many. For example, BDD patients often don’t like to be discovered. If their plastic surgeon realizes that mental illness might be a factor, a BDD patient is likely to leave the practice and switch doctors.

Plastic surgery to mask other problems

Some people to feel a sense of control after undergoing plastic surgery. This helps men and women cope with other areas of their lives that might be causing them stress. For example, a woman hoping that cosmetic surgery will save her marriage will ultimately be disappointed. The concern with using plastic surgery to mask other problems is that cosmetic procedures are a temporary solution. After cosmetic surgery, patients are confident and excited about the results, but over time those emotions fade. If someone is battling depression, anxiety or another mental illness, plastic surgery can’t fix those conditions.

Breast augmentation and suicide

Patients who opt for breast augmentation surgery are overwhelmingly pleased with the results, but there’s an undeniable link between breast implants and suicide. Women who receive breast enhancement surgery have a higher risk of committing suicide. The suicide risk increases over time, and so does the risk of drug and alcohol abuse. Mental health risks from breast augmentations are not necessarily related to the procedure, however. The connection between women, plastic surgery and suicide are generally related to women with a history of mental health conditions and patients who use plastic surgery to solve other, unrelated problems.

Positive body image and realistic goals

Before consulting with a plastic surgeon, the ideal patient already has a strong self-esteem. Plastic surgeons generally aren’t trained to address mental health, but they might recommend consulting with a therapist before your operation. Your results will be more satisfying if you have realistic goals and a positive body image going into the procedure. Cosmetic surgery can transform your appearance and eliminate your insecurities, but it won’t fix mental health.

Plastic surgery is an exciting operation as men and women remove their insecurities and reveal a newfound confidence. Your doctor can work wonders, but cosmetic surgeons can’t erase mental health disorders. People who are looking for a sense of control or trying to mask other problems in their life will not benefit from a cosmetic fix. Your plastic surgeon cares about your overall health, so be honest with him or her about your history with mental illnesses and your goals for the operation.

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