Surgery Junkies: Wellness and Pathology in Cosmetic Culture

By Victoria Pitts-Taylor | Go to book overview

4
The
Medicalization
of Surgery
Addiction

Many critics of cosmetic surgery have expressed worries that people who undergo it will become hooked, wanting more and more procedures and aiming to look ever more beautiful and young. But what it means to be hooked, and how people get that way, is becoming a matter of public debate. While feminism has identified all cosmetic surgery as problematic and potentially addictive, medical experts—both psychiatrists and cosmetic surgeons—have focused on sorting normal from pathological cosmetic surgery patients. For psychiatrists, the boom in cosmetic surgery represents a new population at risk for Body Dysmorphic Disorder. For cosmetic surgeons, the public awareness about surgery addiction presents significant professional challenges as well as opportunities. In this chapter, I examine the ways these perspectives frame cosmetic surgery addiction, and I address the social and political implications of the emergence of Body Dysmorphic Disorder as the official psychiatric diagnosis for those perceived as surgery addicts.

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