Perfectionism can kill you.

Bold statement. Sad but true. The frenetic obsession to have the perfect body is literally killing some people. A nose job or a face lift isn't enough. Once that's done, then the boobs, lips, hips along with every wrinkle must be enhanced, puffed, sucked out, lifted, stretched and shaped into the ideal body. Uh-oh, there's another wrinkle and off to the scalpel you go!

There is a name for this emotional disorder - body dysmorphophobia (BDD). The affective person is excessively preoccupied and concerned about perceived defects in his or her body image. In the media as well as in dramatic story lines we see people and characters looking to improve life through a surgeon's scalpel. There is the real or created desperate housewife looking for a cosmetic makeover. We cringe at the often bizarre facial transformations of celebrities on the red carpet as much as we ogle the dress. This year we have seen a lot of attention paid to cougar women doing whatever it takes to look younger in order to have a second chance at love with someone without an AARP card.

I'm not talking about a small nip here or a tuck there. Heck, I think about a stitch or two when I see my face sliding off my face every morning in the mirror. The thought passes as I get on with my day. It is the person who has more unnecessary cosmetic surgeries than he or she can count on one hand that this article addresses.

With the new phenomenon of medical vacations, or medical tourism, cosmetic surgery is no longer just an option for the desperate affluent. People of modest means can now fly to foreign countries to be surgically shaped into some unrealistic ideal self. There are travel packages that let you cash in frequent flyer miles for cosmetic surgery. Leave those bags under your eyes when you return!

Too often, those performing such delicate operations are not board certified by United States medical standards. Even under optimal conditions, there are risks involved. Sometimes multiple surgeries are required to fix former surgeries with "less than optimal" results. It doesn't take an enlightened genius to know that the more surgeries performed on a person the greater the risk of something going terribly wrong.

People have died on the operating room table even with the best of care. We hear about celebrities such as Argentinian beauty queen Solange Magnano and Dr. Donda West, Kanye West's mother, who died as a result of plastic surgery complications. There are countless others beyond the scope of the media spotlight who die in search of the perfect look.

The unfortunate freak-show results of those who jones for one cosmetic procedure after the other like a crack cocaine addict can be seen seemingly everywhere. Watch any talk show or wander down the streets of Rodeo Drive and you'll see an endless parade of people who have had much more than a little work done. We've seen how too many surgeries become a distraction between a celebrity's talent and his or her history of cosmetic enhancements. We are entertained by looking at their poofy lips rather than by being mesmerized by their performance.

Chronic low self-esteem is characteristic of those with BDD because the perception of one's self-work is tightly linked with the view of one's appearance. BDD is considered a major risk factor for suicide with the completed-suicide rate more than double than that of major depression. Phillips & Menard (2006) found completed-rate in patients with BDD to be 45 times higher than that of the general population of the United States.

In addition to low self-esteem other symptoms and behaviors associated with BDD include:

- Anxiety, possible panic attacks
- Strong feelings of shame
- Dependent personalities
- Alcohol and drug abuse to self-medicate; numb emotional pain
- Excessive dieting or exercising
- Wanting to look like a specific celebrity
- Needy, seeking constance reassurance and acceptance of others

While it is easy to point the fault finger at glamorized (and photoshopped) media pressure, BDD occurs in all parts of the world including areas where access to such media frenzy is nearly non-existent. While unlikely the cause of BDD, the public love affair with perceived body perfection can trigger such emotional dysfunction.

BDD is a chronic illness. It is likely to persist, or worsen, if left untreated. There isn't a surgical procedure in the world that can heal the inner turmoil that creates the obsessive quest for cosmetic - plastic surgery. If you recognize yourself anywhere in this post seek help before you become a cartoon of your former self.

Know that you are made of excellence and pure potential. Embrace your inner magnificence. There is nothing more beautiful than a person fully expressing and enjoying his or her authenticity.

Author's Bio: 

Valery is a Mentor, Coach & Author who provides an all in one toolkit and training course that give you the necessary tools and information to get over the unique challenges that come from success, fame and fortune. Championing those who have or aspire fame and/or fortune to maximize their potential is her calling. She's fully prepared to engage clients with her experience, extensive training, certifications. For more information please visit