Although plastic surgery is now performed on a daily basis in countries all over the world, plastic surgery should never be taken lightly. This eternal quest for physical beauty that people have embarked on since the dawn of time is closely linked to self-image issues and other psychological factors.
Despite what people might believe, there is more to plastic surgery than correcting or improving one feature of the body or the other. With the help of plastic surgery, the aspect of the body can be altered forever. For many patients, this is the desired outcome, hence the high satisfaction rate associated with plastic surgery interventions. For a vast majority of people, undergoing plastic surgery is a dream come true. For some, it can be the beginning of a nightmare. Usually, these are the people who are not emotionally stable. In this article we will try to answer the question, “Can plastic surgery cure depression?” But first, let’s discuss about the risks of plastic surgery interventions.
Physical and psychological risks
When considering a surgical intervention, the first risk that comes to mind is anesthesia. Be it local or general, anesthesia is necessary to carry out any operation. Infection can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated promptly. There is also the possible problem of scarring – even if certain techniques now make it possible to reduce them to the maximum, the reactions of the skin are difficult to predict and highly dependent on each patient.
But more than the physical risks, we need to talk about the psychological aspects of aesthetic surgery and the psychological risks that exist when one chooses to modify one’s external appearance. The first risk is to aggravate a disorder that already existed before the operation. If the desire to finally have a small and flawless nose is, in fact, the manifestation of an underlying depression, cosmetic surgery will not improve the situation. The chances are that by disrupting the perception of self with plastic surgery, the problem is aggravated.
Sometimes patients undergoing plastic surgery interventions no longer recognize themselves in their new physique, even after a minor change. The risk is that they continue to be operated again and again, since their self-image is altered and they find it difficult to find a new reference point.
In some cases, the need for plastic surgery can be triggered by being disappointed or depressed about one’s appearance in comparison to modern beauty standards. Men and women of all ages develop significant emotional complexes that can negatively influence the quality of their lives because they have different imperfections such as large ears, small breasts in women or feminine breasts in men, fat accumulation around the waist, and sagginess of the skin in different areas of the body.
It is natural to be affected by how you see yourself, and studies show that the level of self-esteem is directly linked to self-image. However, if you have an emotional condition such as depression, chances are plastic surgery won’t make it better.
More about depression
Depression is a condition that is characterized by sadness, a sense of despair, loss of motivation and decision-making, decreased pleasure, eating and sleep disorders, and the impression of not having value as an individual, among other things.
In the medical field, the term major depression is often used to refer to this disease. Depression usually occurs as depressive periods that can last for weeks, months or even years. Depending on the intensity of the symptoms, depression will be described as mild, moderate or severe.
Depression affects the mood, thoughts, and behavior of the person, but also his body. Depression can be expressed in the body through backache, stomach pain, and headache. This also explains why a person who suffers from depression may be more vulnerable to colds and other infections because of his immune system being weakened.
The term “depression,” still taboo not so long ago, is often used incorrectly in common language to describe the periods of sadness, nostalgia or boredom that all of us can experience at one time or another in life, without being an illness. Experiencing different feelings, including ones of sadness, despair, etc. is normal in different situations, and most people are confronted with this. But depression is something different, as it is in fact a chronic disease which needs monitoring and treatment.
In addition to sadness, a depressed person has negative thoughts such as: “I am nothing,” “I never do anything right,” or “I don’t deserve to live.” S/he feels worthless and has trouble projecting the self into the future. S/he is no longer interested in things they used to love.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2020, depression will become the second leading cause of disability in the world after cardiovascular disorders. Depression can occur at any age, including in childhood, but occurs for the first time most often in late adolescence or early adulthood.
Depression, especially in moderate or severe cases, can significantly affect a person’s body appearance and functions. This is why there are cases when a patient battling with depression can resort to plastic surgery as a method to cure the disease and improve self-esteem and self-image. Unfortunately, plastic surgery can’t be used to cure depression. Moreover, it is never recommended to perform a procedure on a patient who is not stable from an emotional point of view. Plastic surgery should only be performed on patients in good health and mental condition in order to have a high satisfaction rate.
Aside from this condition, there might be another contraindication for people suffering from depression to undergo plastic surgery. In some cases, patients diagnosed with depression can be prescribed medication. These are both are contraindications for any plastic surgery procedures.
Why can’t plastic surgery cure depression?
Before anything else, we need to keep in mind that plastic surgery usually entails a surgical procedure, and by definition, these are periods when there is a lot of stress put on the body, both in a physical and psychological way. To be eligible to undergo plastic surgery, it is preferable to have a strong immune system that will prevent infections and help you get well soon. If your immune system is weak and you have no desire to get well soon because you feel you are not worth it, severe complications can be triggered.
When it comes to many aspects of life, a healthy dose of optimism can make all the difference in the world. When we are discussing depression, it usually means there is no optimism to be encountered in the patient.
In my experience, in a vast majority of cases, it is the friends or family of the patient suffering from depression that are pushing him or her towards undergoing plastic surgery. In other cases, the patient himself wants to do a change, get his or her body and life back and considers plastic surgery to be a good choice. Unfortunately, it is not. The patient suffering from depression should get help from a specialist and keep the condition under control before looking for plastic surgery interventions.
The results of plastic surgery can come as a shock for many patients, even for ones that were properly prepared to undergo the procedure. When this happens, the outcomes can be devastating, even if in medical terms the procedure was a success.
Expectations before a plastic surgery intervention
A prepared patient knows that the expectations need to be realistic. If you are expecting a psychological improvement after your operation (e.g. having more confidence in yourself), take the time to determine exactly how much your body is responsible for the problem before altering it permanently. Finally, don’t lean too much on the social influences around you with regard to cosmetic surgery. Whether your friends or family are for or against it, it is good to find a neutral person to talk to. That person can even be a plastic surgeon, as he is equipped and prepared to deal with different demands from all sort of patients. However, keep in mind that the plastic surgeon might turn down your request for plastic surgery if he finds you emotionally unstable.
Depression is more and more common nowadays and is a condition that affects both the body and the spirit. On the other hand, plastic surgery is known to be able to improve the aesthetic appearance of the patients and also cause a boost of self-esteem at the same time. So can plastic surgery cure depression? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Moreover, plastic surgery should only be performed on patients who are emotionally stable and in good health condition to get the desired results. Undergoing plastic surgery while battling with depression can be disastrous for the patient, both in terms of how the results achieved will affect his psyche and also in terms of the post-operative stress levels.