Patients are relying on selfies with Snapchat and Instagram filters to place orders for plastic surgeries. This is the account of American doctors in the area, who claim that the number of people interested in becoming their "perfect" versions is growing every day. The phenomenon received the name "Snapchat dysmorphia", given by the British doctor Tijion Esho, one of the first to point the trend.
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Requests for surgical intervention aim to apply the changes made by facial filter software: larger eyes and lashes, thinner face and smoother skin, the so-called blur effect. According to an article written by the director of the Boston University Cosmetics and Laser Center, Neelam Vashi, in co-authorship with two other doctors, selfies and filters can worsen the symptoms of people who have been diagnosed or are prone to Body Dysphoric Disorder ( TDC).
Snapchat and Instagram filters are leading patients to have plastic surgery, doctors claim Photo: Carolina Ochsendorf / TechTudo
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Dr. Tijion Esho realized that, in the last five years, people have started to show their pictures in the office where they were "filtered", something that had not happened before. "Patients came into the clinics with pictures of celebrities or models that they admired and wanted to look like," the doctor told The Independent.
Dr. Neelam Vashi adds that the new phenomenon has more damaging potential, as it makes it more difficult for the patient to discern the reality of fantasy. "I can easily accept not looking like a celebrity, but it is much harder to accept that I cannot look like an enhanced version of myself (obtained with) a social media filter," explained the researcher in an interview with Buzzfeed News.
The heart of the problem lies precisely in the unrealistic expectations these patients show to have about their appearance. The account of a patient Natalie, whose name was changed by the Independent website, portrays this picture well. "I was never happy to take pictures, but using filters made me feel beautiful," said the young woman, who went to Dr. Esho but was not seen by him. The doctor referred her for professional psychological counseling.
Young people are the most recurring targets
The Director of Plastic and Facial Reconstructive Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Patrick Byrne is one of the doctors who sees the problem mainly affecting young people. For him, the frequency and ease with which the photos are posted has caused obsession with the appearance on social networks, which leads people to become frustrated with their own skin in real life and, thus, seek surgeries that transform them into their "me". "online.
Perfect images generated by filters lead young people to undergo plastic surgery Photo: Carolina Ochsendorf / TechTudo
Tijion Esho seems to agree with the generational aspect of "Snapchat dysmorphia": "people are born in an age of social platforms, where their feelings of self-esteem can be based purely on the number of likes and followers they have, and which is directly linked to how beautiful they look or how great these images are ", he evaluated. "Today's generation cannot escape the Truman effect." The name refers to the 1998 film Truman's Show, in which the main character unknowingly lives a simulated reality within a reality show in which he is constantly observed by an audience.
In addition to the opinion of health professionals, a 2015 study found that young girls who like to share selfies online and / or edit images before sharing them are more likely to have diet and body concerns than those who they don't. According to a survey conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), Instagram is the worst network for young people's mental health, which can cause anxiety, depression and dissatisfaction with their own bodies.
Body Dysphoric Disorder and "Snapchat dysmorphia" are not synonymous
Body Dysphoric Disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis cataloged in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) under code F45.2. He is characterized by a long-term concern with his physical appearance, which can drag on for years or even for a lifetime.
People with this condition often look in the mirror very often and can spend hours a day trying to correct the supposed defect. Treatment may include therapy and antidepressant medication. According to data from Albert Einstein Hospital, in So Paulo, Brazil has more than 150 thousand cases of BDD per year.
On the other hand, the so-called "Snapchat dysmorphia" is not a recognized medical diagnosis. There are no real studies so far that show a direct link between filters and image apps with the increase in cases of BDD. "Snapchat filters are not causing plastic surgery, and Snapchat dysmorphia is not TDC, but that can be a trigger, and (the article) is only increasing understanding," said Dr. Vashi.
What exists is a perception of the phenomenon by the medical class. A survey by the American Academy of Plastic and Facial Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) in 2017 revealed that 55% of surgeons reported seeing patients who wanted to change their appearance to improve selfies. In 2016, this index had been 42%.
Called "Snapchat dysmorphia" as a synonym for Body Dysmorphic Disorder, but it can turn on alert Photo: Carolina Ochsendorf / TechTudo
An essential factor in this situation, according to Dr. Esho, is that professionals have ethics when dealing with this type of patient. The consultation process must be rigorous and look for signs that may indicate any bodily dysmorphia, in which the expected result of the procedure is completely unrealistic. "Treating someone like this will start you on a journey in which you will never be happy and psychological support will be needed," says Dr. Esho.
Dr. Vashi also hits that key. "For people with BDD, surgery generally does not help relieve anxiety about physical appearance," he says. She points out that the problem is not to try to improve the body itself, but to make this search obsessive.
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