When used responsibly, Botox is a great way to treat various signs of aging including fine lines and wrinkles. Like any other tool, though, it can quickly become detrimental to your health and well-being if used improperly. An issue that is causing dermatologists concern is the development of Botox addiction in some patients. Here's what you need to know about this condition and what you can do if you think you or someone you love is affected by it.
What is Botox Addiction?
Botox addiction is not an official diagnosis, so you won't find anything about it the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, it is related to a condition called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) which is characterized by anxiety about and obsession with correcting real or imagined flaws.
People with BDD are plagued with negative thoughts about areas of their bodies they are unhappy with. This sometimes leads them to take extreme or compulsory action to change those parts of their bodies they believe are flawed. For example, Michael Jackson underwent over 30 plastic surgeries, though it remains unconfirmed whether he had BDD or not. Many people who suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia also suffer from BDD. It's estimated the condition affects about 5 to 7 million people in America.
When it comes to Botox addiction, the person may be obsessed with getting rid of lines and wrinkles on his or her face, which is something the product does fairly effectively. However, the results are not permanent and require the person to have the injections redone at regular intervals if he or she wants to continue enjoying the benefits. This may lead to addiction-type behaviors such as increasing the use of Botox to treat more and more "problem" areas, attempting to have the procedure redone before the recommended waiting period ends, and even doctor shopping if a dermatologist refuses to further treat the patient.
Identifying Botox Addiction
It's important to understand that Botox addiction is a psychological and behavioral issue rather than a physical one. Unlike drugs or alcohol, the person does not physically crave Botox. Rather, the person gets his or her high from the results the medication can produce.
The only physical symptoms the person may manifest after stopping treatment is their face may seem more lined or wrinkled than usual. This is because Botox essentially freezes the muscle so it can't be used, resulting in atrophy and increased weakness over time. Eventually, though, this goes away after a while.
However, the person may still exhibit addictive behaviors such as:
The dermatologist may also intervene and refuse to do additional treatments if the doctor feels the procedure is becoming a problem for the person.
Overcoming the Addiction
The first step to overcoming Botox addiction is to acknowledge there is a problem. If you're worried about a loved one, you may want to stage an intervention to voice your concerns about his or her behavior. A mental health professional can assist you with that.
The next step is to seek out treatment that focuses on addressing the underlying cause of the addiction whether that's BDD, low self esteem or other psychological or behavioral issues. This can be done by either talking to a certified therapist or checking into a recovery center.
Botox is a cosmetic tool that is designed to enhance your natural beauty. As long as you're using it responsibly, you shouldn't run into any problems. For more information about the best way to use Botox and the issue of Botox addiction, talk to a dermatologist at a local dermatology clinic.
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