In the last two posts I made, the focus was on the method of using cosmetic surgery to gain the height increase H.I.S. are looking for. From watching the videos, I understand the desire and intent of the men who decided to go through the surgery. It made me wonder whether they might have been suffering from some form of psychiatric disorder that kept them extremely dissatisfied with their height.
After a while, I realized that the problem is not whether they are suffering from such a condition or not (because they are suffering and dissatisfied), but more on how the psychiatric conditioned will be evaluated to be termed.
In this article HERE written by the “In These Times” blog by Lindsay Beyerstein, she argues that Dr. Dror Paley’s term to describe his patient’s mental anguish “Height Dysphoria” may be wrongly named. I take this section from her writings.
Dr. Dror Paley, a Florida surgeon who performs cosmetic leg lengthening, claims his patients are suffering from “height dysphoria,” which he characterizes as a psychiatric disorder that can lead to suicide, but which can be cured by surgery.
Clearly, the doctor is eager to reframe this extreme procedure as therapeutic, rather than cosmetic. He’s not breaking people’s legs for vanity’s sake, he assures us, he’s curing a dangerous psychiatric disorder. Ethically, the maximum allowable risk for a cosmetic procedure is much lower than for a procedure that’s treating a potentially life-threatening disease.
The interviewer asks if people who are on the brink of suicide might be better served by counselling rather than surgery. The doctor replies, self-servingly, that counselling just doesn’t work for these people. Their only hope is to go under the knife.
It turns out, “height dysphoria,” (aka “short stature dysphoria”) isn’t a psychiatric term at all. It’s just a pseudo-technical way to say that someone is unhappy with their height. Dissatisfaction with one’s appearance is not an illness. Supposedly, “short stature dysphoria” applies to people who are consistently unhappy about their height, but happy and well-adjusted in other areas of their lives. If someone is on the brink of suicide because of their height, it’s pretty hard to argue that they are otherwise healthy and well-adjusted. The cosmetic leg lengthening industry wants to have it both ways.
The doctor may have painted himself into an ethical corner with his claim to be treating a psychiatric illness. Unlike “height dysphoria,” body dysmorphic disorder is a recognized psychiatric condition in which a person is overwhelmingly preoccupied with some aspect of their appearance. An estimated 1%-2% of the population suffers from BDD, and BDD sufferers account for 6%-15% of all patients seeking cosmetic surgery.
BDD sufferers may be fixated on their height, their nose, their skin, or other features. “Height dysphoria” sounds suspiciously like BDD focused on height. The thing is, cosmetic surgery does not ease BDD symptoms. In fact, many experts argue that BDD should be a contraindication for cosmetic surgery because it doesn’t help and may even make BDD symptoms worse.
Paley’s website claims that he does not operate on patients with BDD. But he tells 20/20 that he’s curing a psychiatric disorder with surgery. 20/20 should have challenged him to explain how “height dysphoria” differs from BDD. If his patients are as distraught as he says they are, I have a hard time believing that he’s screening out BDD cases.
Note: I tended to agree (and disagree) with the writer on her point that Dr. Paley is being kind of innacurate (whether in intentionally or unintentionally) in labeling his clients real mental condition. He does have something to be gained in having more clients and getting a bigger practice but that does not take away from the fact that his intentions can still be good and that through his work, he makes people far happier with their height and their lives after going through with his surgery. It appears that the main differences between how Dr. Paley defines say dissastifaction with short stature and how many therapists/ psychiatrist define dissatifaction with short stature comes down to whether the dissatisfaction translated beyond just height but into the overall quality of ones life.
Beyerstein points out that Paley’s term is not medically recognized but is just another say that a person is dissatisfied with their height. She states that “”Dissatisfaction with one’s appearance is not an illness. Supposedly, “short stature dysphoria” applies to people who are consistently unhappy about their height, but happy and well-adjustedin other areas of their lives.””
“”Unlike “height dysphoria,” body dysmorphic disorder is a recognized psychiatric condition in which a person is overwhelmingly preoccupied with some aspect of their appearance. An estimated 1%-2% of the population suffers from BDD”” – I would also like to point out to Beyerstein however that new psychiatric terms are being coined and added every year. It seems like every few months, a new type fo autism is discovered and given a name. From what I’ve known, the number of terms with each new edition of the DSM only gets bigger and bigger. I am sure given enough time, Paley’s term could be medically recognized, sort of like how Fibromyalgia is like an umbrella term for most of the small chronic pain that occurs in a person’s body where the symptoms could actually be reclassified and renamed for some other disorder.
I can make the point for myself that during my phase off intense obsession with the issue year ago, I was very focused on that area of my life but I never felt that my life quality decreased from it. I was not preoccupied with it because I was also focused on improving my health and my mind. I had many other activities I was doing. It was just something that I wanted to do and accomplish extremely badly but I never got depressed from it. I
So my final question to you then is “Do You suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder or Height Dysmorphia?” – Or are they pretty much the same thing??