Dr. Henstrom, facial plastic surgeon in Draper, Utah, discusses Body Dismorphic Disorder on Good Things Utah
Nicea: I’m so glad we’re talking about this important topic. Welcome Utah Facial Plastics. Body dismorphia disorder..now at the beginning of the show we talked about social media and how that Utah teacher said that so many teens are on it way too much and their parents don’t know what they are looking at. Can it create this disorder? Dr. Henstrom, you say yes.
Dr. Henstrom: It’s not unusual, and we all take a look at ourselves and we see things we want to fix or change. But body dismorphic disorder takes it to a different level where it effects your mental health and effects your daily routine and gets to a certain point where you negate going to certain places and doing things with people because you’re fixated on small things. Then it becomes a real psychological issue that people are having and it’s a problem and it’s increasing.
Reagan: It is increasing and I feel like you see it all the time. You hear celebrities talking about it. As a physician, when they come in to see you, how do you know if someone is just looking to fix something or if they have body dysmorphic disorder.
Dr. Henstrom: That’s a great question. So one of the most important questions we ask patients when they come in is why they are here and why do you want to change this. Many people have great reasons, they’ve been thinking about protruding ears that they’ve not liked and want to change it. However, when patients discuss comparing themselves to different people online. I had a patient recently come in who started to describe to me how her ex-husband was comparing her to his ex-wife and how that influenced her to go to social media and to look at this person and the reasons desiring to change aren’t healthy.
Nicea: It’s fascinating too because sometimes it’s not just the pictures but the filter. People see thermselves with the perfect snapchat filter and want to look like they do in the filtered photo. Do you hear that sometimes?
Dr. Henstrom: Absolutely. Whether the patient admits it or not, that’s truly what we’re looking at. We’ve got some pictures here and you can see what they do. They make the eye unusually large and the lips unusually large. Patients come in and say they like this look and I tell them it isn’t real. This is a fake look and nobody really looks like this in person. This isn’t healthy. This is something we’ve blogged about recently and it’s the term “snapchat dysmorphia” because of these filters people are using. Recent studies show that selfies, and using selfies makes your nose look 30% bigger than it really is. Then patients come in and want their nose smaller but when we evaluate their nose, it’s really appropriate for the size of your face. So one of the things a good physician in our position will do is to tell some patients no. That patient I referred to earlier, we had a wonderful discussion and I helped her see the fact that she was beautiful. She did need anything. She was wanting to get something done for some other people and some other reasons but she didn’t need plastic surgery. And she came out of that much better off than had she done in cosmetic procedure.
Nicea: For our viewers out there with teenager, and maybe they are struggling with themselves, what can they do?
Dr. Henstrom: I think there should be a limitation on social media use. And if it’s gotten to such a point where it’s really effecting their livelihood, professional help needs to be sought. Having discussions about how the images aren’t real is good as well. Let’s not look for this toxic perfectionism that is gripping some areas of our country and in some areas of our lives. Accept who we are, and change what we can.
Reagan: It’s so refreshing that a facial plastic surgeon will say no and have this conversation if they feel you really don’t need it.
Nicea: It’s just a standard you can’t reach, there is no perfectly perfect.
Dr. Henstrom: That’s exactly right. We shouldn’t search for that or seek for that. We need to be the best version of ourselves but not in comparison to others.
Reagan: Dr. Henstrom from Utah Facial Plastics, thank you for coming. You can learn more at utahfacialplastics.com or by calling (801)776-2220.