Health & Beauty: In the U.S., the concept of plastic surgery addiction has received recent attention due to the report of a reality television star named Heidi Montag having 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day. This was after already having had several procedures. Montag is 23 years old.
A 2006 report in the Times of London reported on "imagined ugly syndrome," otherwise called body dysmorphic disorder. This is a psychological condition in which a person is convinced that they look not only ugly, but especially ugly, despite any evidence otherwise. These patients have been known to become addicted to plastic surgery or Botox treatments.
The prevalence of plastic surgery in today's society has further fueled demand for procedures as people struggle to "keep up" with an ever-rising standard of beauty set in the mass media. In some cases, even surgeons who have benefited quite a bit from the recent boom in plastic surgery procedures have begun to realize that some treatments are unnecessary. There are, it seems, some patients who return for repeat procedures because they feel a temporary "high" from their new look, or because they have the goal of being physically perfect in every way.
The problem is, people with body dysmorphic disorder are ultimately never happy with the changes they have through cosmetic surgery. And plastic surgeons who treat such patients risk making the condition worse by continuing to "fix" problems that may only exist in the mind of the patient.
The most popular non-surgical cosmetic surgery procedure, Botox injection, is particularly ripe for abuse by patients who seemingly can't get enough. One study presented at the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons showed that 40 percent of Botox patients had a compulsive drive for more Botox.
Psychologists who treat body dysmorphic disorder and plastic surgery addiction say that the excitement and all the attention a plastic surgery patient gets leads to a short-lived feeling of happiness. But then reality sets back in, and life goes back to normal with all its attendant problems. That's when a plastic surgery addict needs another fix.
The ultimate result of untreated addiction to plastic surgery can be a lifetime of disfigurement. In most cases, once a patient's original plastic surgeon refuses to do further procedures on a person, there's always another one who is willing to do the surgery. This can result in not only a lack of the physical perfection the addict seeks, but a disfigured look far worse than the person's original features.