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Dr. Nancy Etcoff is a psychologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School. She's also written a book called Survival of the Prettiest, The Science of Beauty.

"We're a nation obsessed with beauty pursuing it at all costs," Dr. Etcoff says. "We see images of perfect beauty everywhere. We see extreme makeovers now. People will do so much to be beautiful. When I'm listening to [Jenny], what I hear is a profound lack of self-acceptance, contentment, even a self-loathing that fuels all this."

Dr. Etcoff says that Jenny likely suffers from a common condition now known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). BDD often strikes people in their teens."

It's a psychiatric problem where people are pre-occupied with an imagined or very slight defect," Dr. Etcoff says. "They can't stop thinking about it. They've checked the mirror all day. They spend hours thinking about it. They'll ask people, 'How do I look?' And what happens is, everyone says, 'Sure, I think about my looks.' But it becomes so preoccupying that it's torturous. It becomes an obsession."
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FROM: Hooked on Plastic Surgery at Age 28
Published on February 08, 2005

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