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Though media and advertising do play a large role in influencing many people’s lives, such as by making people believe plastic surgery to be an acceptable course to change our identities to our liking, researchers believe that plastic surgery obsession is linked to psychological disorders like body dysmorphic disorder. There exists a correlation between sufferers of BDD and the predilection toward cosmetic plastic surgery in order to correct a perceived defect in their appearance.
BDD is a disorder resulting in the sufferer becoming “preoccupied with what they regard as defects in their bodies or faces.” Alternatively, where there is a slight physical anomaly, then the person’s concern is markedly excessive. While 2% of people suffer from body dysmorphic disorder in the United States, 15% of patients seeing a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeons have the disorder. Half of the patients with the disorder who have cosmetic surgery performed are not pleased with the aesthetic outcome. BDD can lead to suicide in some of its sufferers. While many with BDD seek cosmetic surgery, the procedures do not treat BDD, and can ultimately worsen the problem. The psychological root of the problem is usually unidentified; therefore causing the treatment to be even more difficult. Some say that the fixation or obsession with correction of the area could be a sub-disorder such as anorexia or muscle dysmorphia.
In some cases, people whose physicians refuse to perform any further surgeries, have turned to “do it yourself” plastic surgery, injecting themselves and running extreme safety risks.