Thursday, August 09, 2007

Suicide and Plastic Surgery

From William Saletan's Human Nature column in Slate magazine:

Over a 19-year period, women who got cosmetic breast implants were three times as likely to commit suicide as women who didn't, according to a Swedish study. They were also three times as likely to die from alcohol or drug addiction. This echoes other studies. Caveats: 1) Some studies suggest "women felt better about themselves after implants." 2) In this study, "There was no higher risk in the first 10 years afterward … but the risk was 4.5 times higher after 10 to 19 years and six times higher after 20 years." Theories: 1) Women who got breast implants 19 years ago were disproportionately prone to distress over their bodily flaws; that's why they got the implants. 2) The implants made them happier for a while, but then the underlying disorder took over, driving some to suicide. The good news: Women who get implants today will be less suicidal. The bad news: … because now everybody's getting them, disordered or not.

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