The sudden onset of COVID-19 has shut down all non-essential businesses to help maintain social distancing, causing many cosmetic surgery offices to close or limit their hours and availability. These closures have made it impossible for some patients to receive treatments they would receive on a regular basis, such as injectable dermal fillers. One component of society that has not been a primary focus is those with conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder. Mental health conditions are severe disorders, especially during times of uncertainty. Clinical psychologist Dr. Gemma Sharp is expecting the current lockdown to greatly impact those who receive cosmetic procedures. While body dysmorphic disorder typically impacts 1% to 2% of the population, it can be as high as 15% for those who have had cosmetic procedures done.
How Great of an Impact
Dr. Sharp’s concerns are not just due to body image but what recent closures can cause individuals with body dysmorphic order to do. More severe cases may see these individuals reach a point where they try and create cosmetic treatments of their own. These treatments would use any kind of materials the individuals have access to. Not only is this thought concerning but potentially dangerous for the individual. Cosmetic treatments are successful when administered by a trained clinician. Having access to the right training and materials is required for all licensed elective surgery offices.
Individuals with body dysmorphic disorder may also look to completely isolate themselves, believing their appearance is not up to their standards. Such isolation can increase the underlying symptoms of depression that body dysmorphic disorder is associated with. While closing cosmetic surgery offices in a time like this is warranted, we cannot forget about our patients who may be dealing with issues outside of our comprehension.
The Global Effect of COVID-19
The increased potential of do it yourself treatments has also been witnessed in other parts of the world. Cosmetic injectables have become a popular option for individuals in Australia. The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery reports that the country spends approximately $350 million a year in procedures designed to reduce wrinkles. Dr. Oates, another clinician studying the effects of body image, believes now is the perfect opportunity to screen all patients. Understanding possible mental health issues can give an insight to the patient’s well-being when receiving elective surgery. The cosmetic industry is thinking more about how a regular screening tool can help identify those with body dysmorphic disorder.
A Holistic Approach in Gold Coast
One particular area of Australia that is notorious for elective treatments is Gold Coast, located in Queensland. While one would assume such a community would have a difficult time regarding the closure of their cosmetic surgery offices, some have seen quite the opposite. Local cosmetic practitioner Laura Malceski has seen patients reflect on more important issues to them. She reports that many patients’ concerns have shifted from physical appearance and more towards a community wide concern. Ms. Malceski is a registered nurse and is using her skills to assist in clinical triaging for possible COVID-19 cases in the area. She believes this pandemic will help the community continue to shift towards a holistic approach for community wide health. Social distancing and isolation has the possibility to increase symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. Ms. Malceski recommends everyone to follow a healthy diet and exercise regime during this time. Her belief is that this holistic lifestyle can help those who are more at risk to depression during these difficult times.
What You Can Do from Home
As mentioned, some of the top medical experts in the field understand your concerns of the current pandemic. Following a healthy diet and getting in regular exercise is always recommended no matter what you are going through. The most important aspect for anyone with body dysmorphic disorder or any other mental health condition is to seek out the help you need. Take care of yourself during this difficult time so you can be ready for having life back to normal soon enough.
Ongoing Support from St. Louis Laser Veins
We understand the current pandemic associated with COVID-19 is a difficult time for everyone. We are following all universal infection procedures to maintain patient safety. While at this time we are limited to appointment and medical necessity visits you can continue to receive the care you expect from us. We will continue to provide Telehealth virtual appointments and consultations for any future treatments. The St. Louis Laser Vein Center wants to ensure the safety of all our patients. If you have any concerns or questions regarding a future procedure or your mental health, please do not hesitate to contact our staff.