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The Dangers of 'Snapchat Dysmorphia'


Snapchat Dysmorphia, what is it?


Social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram offer the likes of filters that modify your photos before being posted, this can involve minor changes such as lighting filters but can go as far as changing your skin tone, and entirely changing the features on your face. This has given the users the ability to change how they look and to create what is in their eyes, a more "idealised" version of themselves to post online.


This phenomenon is referred to as "Snapchat dysmorphia" which may be a sign that those individuals may be suffering from an underlying mental health condition such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) which is an anxiety disorder related to primarily body image, where a person will spend a lot of time worrying about "flaws" in their appearance, but such flaws will go unnoticeable to other people.


What is the danger behind it? Is it real?


Snapchat Dysmorphia is very much real, and has continued to get worse every year, where according to a survey taken in 2022 from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) reported a "75 per cent of facial plastic surgeons report increases in the number of patients under 30 years of age requesting cosmetic surgery". With a push for trying "to look better in selfies", with plastic surgeons repeatedly fielding and going to refuse patients' requests for alterations that are done to make them look like their filtered pictures, seeking treatments that make significant changes to their faces or bodies in real life.


With filters being applied to most pictures used on Snapchat or Instagram, they have become the norm for social media and have had a negative impact on how people view someone as "attractive" which can affect people's self-esteem and in turn, trigger BDD. It makes people lose touch with reality, making younger people or those with BDD want to seek out surgery that is not recommended since it can actually worsen BDD symptoms and potentially do damage to their bodies as there are many risks associated with taking plastic surgery, not to mention there are significant costs behind it as well.


To Conclude...


Snapchat Dysmorphia is a real phenomenon that affects many people, especially those with body dysmorphic disorder, that drives individuals to want to make permanent changes to their body and face through plastic surgery so they could best look like their filtered selfies that completely change facial structure, skin tone and smoothness, which gives youth and even adults across the world an altered perception of what "beauty" really is.


If you are suffering from BDD, it is recommended that you seek out psychological interventions like cognitive behavioural therapy to best manage those anxieties, especially since surgery can end up worsening those symptoms, social media platforms should reconsider the types of filters they enable people to access to tackle on the worldwide view of what is considered "beautiful" and to give people a better view on their body image.

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