“Long-term Psychological Effects of Cosmetic Surgery” by Mark Kamo
by Medical Researcher Mark Kamo
For the last few decades the plastic surgery has become a flourishing sphere of medicine, and the number of people that addressed plastic surgeon at least once in their life has increased dramatically. Plastic surgeons help not only Hollywood stars and pop-stars that are eager to look closer to the popularized standard of the beauty and fashion, but as well people that have some kind of defect (either inborn or resulting from some kind of illness, or accident), which bother them and prevent them from normal life and social interaction.
Another category of people is the one, characterized by the syndrome called “Body dysmorphic disorder”, or simply BDD. That is the type of psychological disorder that makes person believe that some feature of their looks (mostly it is a facial one) is ugly and it needs to be fixed. This often leads to plastic surgery addiction – the disorder that is even more serious.
Anyway, to tell that cosmetic surgery has no impact on the psychology of a person and his or her self-esteem would be narrow-minded for modern person. Yet, when considering cosmetic surgery, think about the role of emotional side of this decision. Still, if they think, their perspectives are always positive – most people going under the knife or, at least, under the syringe with Botox or other filler, believe that the procedure will stimulate their self-esteem and confidence, help them with their relation and social interactions. Unfortunately, besides the positive changes that surgery can bring, there is a high risk of detrimental effects on person’s mind, mood and self-identity.
Mostly, the crisis of self-identity happens because the person going under the surgery of some particular feature he or she hate about their face, just do not realize what how attached they are to their facial characteristics. Most doctors note that a lot of their patients feel sort of disconnected from their faces once the feature they did not like disappears – whether it is off nose, or the shape of their eyes. Later, most of these people get used to their new appearance and live their life, but some cannot overcome the problem for the rest of their life, and this result in numerous psychological disorders, starting from anxiety and depression.
The other problem with plastic surgery and its emotional effect is that certain people go under the knife to look not like the better version of them, but to resemble the certain actor/actress or model. This desire comes, again, from low self-esteem firstly, and secondly – from the conviction that famous person lives a life without any problems and enjoys success and fame, and thus, if they look something like this star, their life would change forever into the one their idol is living. But it almost always results in frustration after the surgery passes, because patients realize that by changing their look they did not only lose their own identity, but did not get any other instead. Of course, it is almost impossible to predict the emotional consequences of the changes in appearance of the patient, especially the drastic ones, but the general tendency is quite mournful. As long as self-identity is usually solidified during adolescence, the period of adaptation to new look can take long time. Some surgeons suggest making small changes over time, so that the patient will have time and chance to get used to their new looks gradually.
However, the other, positive side still exists. A number of long-term highlighted the psychological impact of the cosmetic and plastic surgery on patients’ self-esteem and enjoyment of life after they have undergone surgical operation to alter some part of their body of feature of their looks. One of the studies compared a group of people who had one surgery with those who considered plastic surgery, but later changed their mind. The comparison showed that people from the first group (first-timers of plastic surgery) were happy with their treated areas, and in general they were more positive about their appearance in the whole, in comparison to those who decided not to go under the knife. And vice versa, those who had chosen not to go through the operation they wanted, had lower life satisfaction and self-esteem, moreover, they had higher body image investment, as long as they were preoccupied with their looks.
Summing up the problem of emotional impact of cosmetic surgery on a person, it should be noted that everything is dependent upon a person who goes under the knife. But the general advice for such people is having realistic expectations. It is very likely that if you think you will be completely new personality after the surgery and all your problems and drawbacks will go away, you will end up with frustration and disillusionment. To avoid the long-term psychological effects of cosmetic surgery try focusing on smaller achievements that the surgery will bring, and you will always get what you were waiting for.