Increased Risk to Mental Health from Cosmetic Office Closures

The world is dealing with an unprecedented crisis with the sudden onset of COVID-19. This ongoing issue has forced entire countries to shut down and wait it out. The United States is no different, with many states asking citizens to stay at home and quarantine. A big impact has been seen in the area of cosmetic or elective surgery offices. These offices have been deemed non-essential by many state governors and only operate for necessary medical procedures.
Many patients of these type of offices receive ongoing treatments such as dermal fillers that need to be reapplied every few months. Now that many cosmetic offices are temporarily closed, these patients will be unable to receive their follow-up treatments in time. While most can deal with the delay, others may have a more difficult time. Specifically, individuals diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder can have an increasingly difficult time with social isolation.
This is just one of several mental health disorders that have not been discussed in length during the current crisis. Clinicians such as clinical psychologist Gemma Sharp at Monash University sees the impact of the current shutdown on individuals with body dysmorphic disorder. Overall, only 1% to 2% of the total population has body dysmorphic disorder. However, it impacts around 15% of those who receive cosmetic procedures.

The Impact of Social Isolation

Individuals with body dysmorphic disorder can display symptoms differently from one another. What Dr. Sharp has been noticing is that individuals with body dysmorphic disorder are more prone to severe symptoms. One example is individuals getting to the point of creating their own cosmetic treatment at home. Not only do they not have the training necessary for such a procedure but also do not have access to lab-tested materials. Injectable treatments have an extremely high level of success due to the ongoing training clinicians receive.
Complete isolation is another concern Dr. Sharp has for individuals with body dysmorphic disorder. This level of isolation can cause symptoms of depression to increasingly escalate. While cosmetic procedures may not seem important at this time, the effects of their absence on certain individuals is a cause for concern.

Impact on a Global Scale

The current hold on cosmetic treatments is not just seen in the United States but the rest of the world as well. One country in particular has a large fascination with cosmetic treatments but is not handling its absence in a way you would expect. Australia spends approximately $350 million a year along on injectable treatments. One particular area of the Gold Coast in Queensland has seen a drastic effect during the COVID-19 crisis. The community has shifted away from focusing on physical appearances as reported by Laura Melceski, a local practitioner in the area. She reports the community is taking the recent shutdowns in stride and focusing on community wide concerns. Ms. Melceski recommends a holistic approach during this time to help your mind and your body. Specifically, she recommends a healthy diet to keep your body looking well along with a regular exercise regime. Not only will these recommendations help you stay in shape but also help deal with symptoms of depression. The path to treatment starts by taking care of your body.
Dr. Oates, another clinician hoping to better understand patients, recommends that screener tools be added to initial consultations. While most cosmetic offices already perform a standard screener, Dr. Oates is hoping to have this screener look out for mental health issues such as body dysmorphic disorder. By identifying these concerns during the consultation physicians can have a better idea on what level of treatment to recommend and offer support services.

Watching Out for Yourself at Home

As shown, many individuals who often receive cosmetic care such as regularly scheduled injectable treatments are all dealing with the recent shutdowns differently. It is a tough time for everyone in the world but one we will get through together. Taking care of your body through diet and exercise will always be recommended no matter the state of the world. However, it is critical for individuals to seek out the assistance they need when dealing with a mental health issue on their own in social isolation.

Looking Ahead with St. Louis Lipo

We will be through the COVID-19 health crisis before we know it. Look ahead to a brighter future and see what treatments we will have available once fully open again. Call today to schedule a virtual consultation where you can chat with one of our physicians from the safety of your home. St. Louis Lipo is here to help you through COVID-19.