In a world that rewards beauty and physical perfection in the workplace and social circles, it is understandable why many people choose to go under the knife to improve their physical appearance.
While some people think that cosmetic surgery is empowering and can help people feel better about their bodies, many others argue that this procedure is not worth it. Keep reading as we explore whether cosmetic surgery can make people feel better about their bodies.
What The Studies Show
In a study conducted in Norway, researchers followed the lives of almost 1600 women for 11 years. At the beginning of the study, the women were between the ages of 14 to 21, and none of them had had any cosmetic surgery before this study. After 11 years and with the subjects aged between 25 and 32, five percent of them had undergone cosmetic surgery, with most having undergone liposuction or breast surgery.
Surprisingly, there was no relationship between liking or disliking their appearance and the surgery. According to the study, depression, anxiety, reported suicide attempts, self-harm, and drug abuse were factors that led to an increased likelihood of a subject opting for cosmetic surgery.
Even more surprising is that the surgeries did not help them feel any better; their psychological problems seemed to worsen over time after the surgery.
Opting for Some Procedures May Indicate Underlying Mental Conditions
Many studies have shown a correlation of underlying mental conditions in patients who seek breast implants and rhinoplasty, or nose jobs. Researchers found higher suicide rates among women who got breast implants than women who underwent other cosmetic surgeries. As for patients seeking nose jobs, the study found that most suffered from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
Individuals suffering from this condition are preoccupied with a perceived physical deformity or defect that drives them to seek cosmetic surgery. But because surgery doesn’t resolve the psychological disorder, this group of individuals was not happy even after surgery. However, it doesn’t mean that all patients seeking breast implants and nose jobs have a psychological problem, but it is important to rule it out before surgery.
For Some, it Makes them Happier
“Patients look for plastic and cosmetic surgeons to help them achieve what , in their minds, is the best or a better version of themselves,” explains Dr. Lee B. Daniel. Some people actually do feel happier after cosmetic surgery. A study published in the clinical psychological science journal followed a group of 800 subjects considering cosmetic surgery. Of the 800, 544 of them got surgery.
According to the study, individuals who got surgery were more satisfied with their bodies than their counterparts. The study also pointed to something more than satisfaction from the changes done: they were happier, had better self-esteem, and had a much more positive approach to life than those who opted out.
While cosmetic surgery may not guarantee increased happiness, there would be no harm in doing it if you want to change something about your physical appearance. However, it is important to rule out any underlying psychological problems, because surgery may not help much if the cause of your dissatisfaction is not addressed.