My friends and I have a long-running joke that every single one of us has a mild case of BDD, otherwise known as body dysmorphic disorder. The words “I feel fat” are frequently heard coming out of the mouths of even my size zero friends. The only plausible reason I can think of is that she has some warped image of herself in her head. We’ve all been there though there are days that we just can’t seem to feel good in anything we put on.
While we’re quick to call each other out for having BDD, it turns out that the psychiatric condition is more common than we joke about. BDD is “marked by excessive concern over minor or even imaged flaws in their appearance.” A new study from Belgium found that one in three people who want a nose job probably has the mental illness. The study’s author concluded,
“This study shows that the prevalence of BDD symptoms in a cosmetic rhinoplasty population is high and that the severity of symptoms has a clearly negative effect on daily functioning.”
If people with BDD can’t stop obsessing over their appearance, then wouldn’t it be true that these rhinoplasty patients, may actually never be happy with their nose, no matter how many surgeries they have? According to the study, the answer is yes. They found that BDD is especially common in patients who’ve already undergone plastic surgery or have previous mental health issues.
It’s important to point out that not all people who want or get plastic surgery have a psychiatric disorder. In fact, plastic surgeons should not be operating on anyone who shows signs of BDD or any mental illness, so if they’re doing their jobs correctly, then the percentage of dysmorphic rhinoplasty patients should be very small. The hope is that this and other studies like it encourage doctors to be more thourogh in their assessments.
Phot: Giulio Marcocchi/Sipa Press