The number of people choosing cosmetic surgery, according to a survey conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, is on the rise. In 2008, 12.1 million people had a cosmetic procedure done, compared to 7.4 million people in 2000. Women have the most work done -- 91 percent of all cosmetic procedures are done on women. While having a nose job or breast augmentation isn't uncommon, for an estimated 10 percent of people who want plastic surgery, it becomes a problem.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is often the root of the desire to have repeated cosmetic surgery, and can lead not only to multiple plastic surgery procedures, despite health or financial risk, but also anxiety, depression and social isolation. BDD is an illness that is characterized by obsessively thinking about physical appearance, flaws in one's physical appearance and numerous attempts to fix the flaws (no matter whether they're real or imagined).
BDD is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic predisposition (if someone in your family has BDD your chances increase), an imbalance of chemicals in the brain (specifically, serotonin), and environmental factors (including culture and societal pressures and low self-esteem). Individuals with BDD often find relief with cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications.