Hate How You Look? You May Be More Likely To Commit Suicide

Many women are getting breast implants to help boost their self esteem, but research shows that some may be doing it to mask an even bigger psychological problem that could lead to suicide.

Studies conducted by Dutch researchers showed that women who received cosmetic breast implants nearly tripled their risk of suicide.

The study was first published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and included the data of more than 2,700 women who had received cosmetic implants between 1973 and 1995.

What is the Correlation Between Suicide and Breast Implants?

So far, doctors don't think getting breast implants will cause a woman to commit suicide, but they are recognizing that some patients have prior psychiatric issues that they feel can be solved with cosmetic surgery.

Of the breast implant patients to die following surgery, data analysis showed:

  • Implant patients were 1.5 times more likely to die than women who did not have breast implant surgery
  • Patients who died were nearly 3 times as likely to have committed suicide or died from lung disease.
  • For the women used in the study, 8% had previously received treatment in a psychiatric care facility prior to their surgery.

One of the theories researchers have to explain the data is that a growing number of women are suffering from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a mental disorder that involves a person's distorted image of their body. While many people wish they could change something about their appearance, those who suffer from BDD believe they are so unspeakably hideous that they cannot function in public situations or with their peers.

People with BDD may:

  • Think about their appearance for more than 1-2 hours a day
  • Compulsively check their appearance in a mirror or avoid looking in mirrors and reflective surfaces all together.
  • Constantly seek reassurance from friends and family.
  • Have an obsession with plastic surgery, or receiving plastic surgery but not being satisfied by the results.
  • Pull back from friends and other social contact to hide their image.
  • Feel their skin to check for perceived flaw or flaws.

BDD has the highest rate of suicide when compared with all other mental disorders.

Although there isn't a certified explanation for what causes BDD, researches believe some of the following disorders play a part:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD is the uncontrollable need to perform ritual behaviors that can eventually take over a person's life. OCD is a genetic disposition.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety disorders can manifest as an exaggerated or unrealistic worry about a perceived defect in a person's appearance.
  • Chemical Imbalance: The brain functions through the release of neurotransmitters such a serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for the feelings of mood and pain. An imbalance of this chemical is considered to be hereditary.

The American Society for Plastic Surgery sees this as a serious issue because the number of cosmetic procedures has increased by over 300% since 1997.

As new data is checked and more research conducted, plastic surgeons have become even more vigilante for at-risk patients. Their hope is to weed out clients who need serious psychological help rather than just a simple nip and tuck.