BODY DYSMORPHIA AND THE RISE OF COSMETIC SURGERY IN THE MIDDLE EAST
The popularity of cosmetic surgery in the Middle East has remarkably increased in the last ten years, with the rise of society’s quest for ‘body beautiful’ cited as the primary reason for the dramatic increase. More alarmingly, however, plastic surgeons are also witnessing an escalation in the request for multiple ‘unnecessary’ cosmetic surgeries indicating a growing prevalence in the cases of Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Dr. Luiz Toledo, one of Dubai’s leading consultant plastic surgeons and recommended amongst the top 40 plastic surgeons by British Tatler magazine for 2012 and 2013, commented on the issue: “An obsession over one’s appearance and body image, and opting for numerous cosmetic procedures in an attempt to “fix” oneself, can be a strong indication of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BBD).”
“Typically, a person suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, manifests an excessive concern and preoccupation with a perceived defect of their physical features. Those affected believe they have a flaw in either one or several features of their body, which leads to psychological distress that canimpair both occupational and social functioning. In many cases, we see patients making ongoing requests for cosmetic procedures which are entirely unnecessary and of no physical benefit to them.”
Alternatively known as dysmorphophobia, the fear of having a deformity,is predominantly common in both male and female adolescents and with*one in 100 people worldwide suffering from the disorder. While the cause of Body Dysmorphic Disorder is still being researched, studies reveal that the condition can be caused due to brain chemical imbalances, structural brain differences, genes,as well as environmental conditions.
Dr. Toledo, continued: “Negative experiences throughout daily life as well as the pressure, perceived or actual, to look a certain way can significantly contribute to dysmorphophobia.”
“Recognising the symptoms of dysmorphophobia is the first step, and if you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering, you are recommended to visit your doctor as soon as possible. While shame and embarrassment about your body make many people reluctant to seek treatment, it is essential to visit a psychiatrist or a general physician. This disorder can only be cured with appropriate treatment and if left untreated, may worsen with time and lead to depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviour.”
Common symptoms of BDD included:
- Obsessive thoughts about (a) perceived appearance defect(s).
- Obsessive and compulsive behaviors related to (a) perceived appearance defect(s) (see section below).
- Delusional thoughts and beliefs related to (a) perceived appearance defect(s).
- Social and family withdrawal, social phobia, loneliness and self-imposed social isolation.
- Suicidal ideation.
- Anxiety; possible panic attacks.
- Chronic low self-esteem.
- Feeling self-conscious in social environments; thinking that others notice and mock their perceived defect(s).
- Strong feelings of shame.
- Inability to work or an inability to focus at work due to preoccupation with appearance.
- Problems initiating and maintaining relationships (both intimate relationships and friendships).
- Repetitive behavior (such as constantly (and heavily) applying make-up; regularly checking appearance in mirrors; see section below for more associated behavior).
- Perfectionism (undergoing cosmetic surgery and behaviors such as excessive moisturizing and exercising with the aim to achieve an ideal body type and reduce anxiety).
Notes to Editor:
Dr. Toledo has published and edited several books in the field of cosmetic surgery and has published over 60 scientific papers in international publications. Dr. Toledo holds the title of Professor having lectured: at more than 500 congresses, delivered over 100 teaching courses and organised over 25 international congresses and symposiums. During 2012, Dr. Toledo gave lectures at many key international conferences such as Asia Middle East Surgery Conference in Dubai (March 2012), 11th Congress of the Serbian Society, Belgrade, in May, ISAPS 21st Congress, Geneva, September, Ex pupils of Prof. Pitanguy, Lisbon (October 2012), and Body Conference and Exhibition in association with The Royal Society of Medicine in London (November 2012).. He is the local organizer of the Dubai ISAPS Teaching Course, that will have famous international plastic surgeons in Dubai in January 24th to 25th 2014.
Dr. Toledo holds the title of consultant plastic surgeon in Dubai. Also, he is a long standing member of the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery (SBCP) which awarded him, along with the Medical Association of Brazil (AMB), the title of ‘specialist’ plastic surgeon. He is also a member of The American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS), and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).
Dr. Toledo has been the recommended Dubai plastic surgeon by British Tatler magazine for 2012 and 2013. Also, he has been newly elected as the Scientific Director of the Emirates Plastic Surgery Society.
For more information, please visit the website: www.luiztoledo.com
For more information please contact: