Body Dysmorphic Disorder in Persons Who Undergo Aesthetic Medical Treatments

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But for those with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), what they see in the mirror is not pleasing.

BDD is a condition where the sufferer is preoccupied with an imagined defect, or a slight imperfection, in their appearance. So far from what we know, genetics and a chemical imbalance in the brain appears to play a role in the development of body dysmorphic disorder. The condition generally starts in adolescence or early adulthood. The average age of onset is approximately 16 years of age.

Men and women both appear to be affected by BDD with near equal frequency. However women tend to be worried about the appearance of their legs and breasts whereas men are more likely to worry about the size of their muscles. Believing that they’re not muscular enough.

BDD sufferers often seek treatment from dermatologists and cosmetic and plastic surgeons in an effort to reduce their perceived ugliness. Many people do not get appropriate treatment (be it cognitive behavioural therapy and/or medication) as they are too embarrassed and ashamed to tell their doctor they are so worried about some aspect of their appearance. Some people with BDD will have cosmetic surgery and, even if the surgery would be considered successful by the average person, they may not be happy with the outcome and even go onto have further procedures on the same area.

Cosmetic surgery is popular worldwide, and Australia ranks in the top 10 countries spending the most money. In 2017, Australia hit the billion-dollar mark where they spent $1 billion on cosmetic surgery.

Interesting Facts:

  • The total number of procedures in Australia in 2018 was 202,642.
  • Australians are spending the most money on anti-wrinkle injections, followed closely by dermal fillers.
  • Spending $1 billion on cosmetic surgery, Australia spends more than 40% than the US per capita. (Australian College of Cosmetic Surgery)
  • The top 5 cosmetic procedures carried out are anti-wrinkle injections, fillers, laser and IPL, breast augmentation and reduction, and liposuction (Australian College of Cosmetic Surgery).