Dear Jenny, Over the course of 15 years I’ve had liposuction on my hips, thighs and stomach, cheek implants, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation/revision three times, and now I’m scheduled for vaginal rejuvenation. My husband says I’m beautiful just the way I am and wants me to stop. He says I'm addicted. Is it possible? Am I addicted to plastic surgery?

- Vanessa G., Dallas TX

So, before we talk about surgery, and at what point it becomes an addiction, lets first lay down what addiction is. According to the ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) addiction is behavior that becomes compulsive and continues despite harmful consequences. 

Plastic surgery can become an addiction. Plastic surgery addiction compels a person to consistently change their appearance by undergoing countless cosmetic surgery procedures. People with this disorder spend thousands of dollars, max out credit cards, and strain relationships, all in the hope of looking and feeling better 

The good feelings we get from cosmetic surgery are, in fact, real. Who doesn’t feel good after seeing a thinner figure, larger breasts or healthier face? Like any addiction, we get attached to that positive feeling and we want more of it 

But when plastic surgery becomes the solution to overcoming low self-esteem or negative self-perception, then real, long term solutions take a back seat. The cycle goes on and on until the money runs out or there’s a medical scare. 

I’m sure it’s no secret. I write about plastic surgery, so it’s safe to assume that I’ve had my fair share of cosmetic surgeries. My experiences, and the fact that I write about the topic, puts me in a unique position. I probably do more introspection than most people.  Have there been times I’ve gotten surgery because it made me feel better? Of course. I’ve felt better after all my surgeries. So am I addicted? In all honestly, maybe. 

But how do you and I responsibly deal with our addictions? I can’t tell you what will work for you, but I can tell you what has worked for me.  

I set up some guidelines and rules for myself. These rules help keep me in check and help me make responsible decisions. Now, when I consider another procedure, I first review these guidelines: 

  1. 6 month wait – When I was younger, I was pretty impulsive, and if I wanted a procedure, I made the decision quickly, and I scheduled an appointment that day. Now I wait 6 months. I find that if I give myself enough time to think about it, the initial excitement wears off and I no longer want the procedure.  
  2. Pay in cash – One of the biggest impacts of plastic surgery addiction is financial. Most addicts can’t afford the procedures they want, so they rack up thousands of dollars in credit card debt. I’m proud to say that I’m debt fre,e and I want to keep it that way. If I want another procedure, I’ve committed to saving up the money first (novel concept, I know). 
  3. Talk to others – Speak with you trusted friends first. This is one of the best barriers a plastic surgery addict can put up for themselves. 99% of your friends and loved ones will tell you that you don’t need it, and believe me, they’re not saying that just to be nice. They genuinely believe you’re beautifulIf you’re an addict, believe them. You don’t need it. 

Hopefully that helps. Plastic surgery is a wonderful thing, but, like all things, balance and moderation are often required. Talk to your husband, or try some of the guidelines I suggested. After some time, you may realize you’re reacting to an addiction and nothing more.  

If you have a husband that thinks you’re beautiful just the way you are, you’re a lucky girl.  And all the plastic surgery in the world couldn’t compensate for that. 

Dear Jenny

Dear Jenny

When Jenny's not hanging out at the beach or getting Botox, she occasionally writes for PSBAD.

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