Reality star Heidi Montag’s recent plastic surgery “binge” has pop culture watchers debating whether 10 procedures in one day adds up to an addiction.
On a January 2010 cover of People with the tagline “Addicted to Plastic Surgery,” reality star and aspiring singer Heidi Montag, 23, admitted to undergoing a whopping 10 cosmetic procedures in one day and told the celeb mag that she was “beyond obsessed.” But then immediate negative fallout from the cover story had Montag scrambling to rephrase her initial comments to People and defend her decision.
“I'm not addicted,” Montag insisted on Good Morning America. “If I were addicted, I would have had 10 plastic surgeries." That would be in contrast to 10 in one day she submitted to last November, which she sees as something completely different.
While Montag stands behind her decision to have the procedures, telling GMA, "I think I look like myself. I think I just look like a different, improved version of myself," she didn’t make her plans public, even to family and close friends, prior to heading under the knife.
Turns out she had good reason to be afraid of their responses. Many of her co-stars on MTV’s The Hills were surprised and not positive when asked for comments by various news outlets. People.com also reported that Heidi’s mom "is horrified and having a total breakdown." Meanwhile, her husband, Spencer Pratt, has been uncharacteristically supportive and careful with his words. "I'm not in charge of what she does with any part of her body,” he told People. “I'm her husband – not her owner."
Despite what you think of Montag’s decision, addiction is a very serious term to be throwing around. True addiction is usually characterized by three traits:
1. Repeated, increased involvement in the activity
2. Intense cravings
3. A desire to engage in the behavior despite negative consequences
Process addictions (from gambling and sex to shopping and food) are gaining recognition as very real addictions, but plastic surgery has yet to be added to that list. Whether it will be promoted to addiction status alongside substances like heroin or alcohol remains to be seen. Whatever its official status is, the need to repeatedly alter your appearance to fit an unrealistic standard probably hints at a larger underlying issue.
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