ABC/Eric McCandless(NEW YORK) — Modern Family actor Reid Ewing, 27, is opening up about his body dysmorphic disorder and the surgeries he’s had in the past, which he said he now regrets.
In an op-ed for the Huffington Post, Ewing, who plays Dylan on the hit show, writes, “Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental illness in which a person obsesses over the way he or she looks. In my case, my looks were the only thing that mattered to me.”
The actor made his first appointment with a plastic surgeon in 2008.
“I genuinely believed if I had one procedure I would suddenly look like Brad Pitt,” he continued. “[The plastic surgeon] quickly determined that large cheek implants would address the issues I had with my face, and a few weeks later I was on the operating table. He spoke with me before I went under, but he wasn’t the same empathetic person I met with during the consultation.”
Ewing was 19 at the time of his first surgery. After the procedure, Ewing said he “woke up screaming my head off from pain” and had to wear a full facial mask.
“For the next two weeks, I stayed at a hotel doped up on hydrocodone. When the time came to take off the bandages, it was nothing like I had expected,” he wrote. “My face was so impossibly swollen, there was no way I could make any excuse for it. After all the swelling finally went down, the results were horrendous. The lower half of my cheeks were as hollow as a corpse’s, which, I know, is the opposite of what you’d expect, as they are called cheek implants.”
With the doctor refusing to operate on Ewing again, the young actor stayed in isolation.
“When I went out, people on the street would stare at me, and when I visited my parents they thought I had contracted some illness,” he added. “Unable to take this state of living, I began to seek out another doctor. The next one I found was even less qualified, but I didn’t care; I just wanted out of my situation.”
This doctor suggested a chin implant. “The same day he brought me into his back office and operated on me,” he wrote.
But the surgeon had made a mistake and had to operate again to correct the implant.
“At this point I was 20 years old. For the next couple of years, I would get several more procedures with two other doctors. Each procedure would cause a new problem that I would have to fix with another procedure,” he said. “At the beginning of 2012, all the isolation, secrecy, depression, and self-hate became too much to bear. I vowed I would never get cosmetic surgery again even though I was still deeply insecure about my looks.”
Ewing said not one of the doctors he saw “had mental health screenings in place for their patients.”
“My history with eating disorders and the cases of obsessive compulsive disorder in my family never came up. None of the doctors suggested I consult a psychologist for what was clearly a psychological issue rather than a cosmetic one,” he wrote. “People with body dysmorphic disorder often become addicted to cosmetic surgery.”
He said he wants to raise awareness of the disease so other people who are suffering can seek help.
“Before seeking to change your face, you should question whether it is your mind that needs fixing…I wish I could go back and undo all the surgeries. Now I can see that I was fine to begin with and didn’t need the surgeries after all,” he wrote.
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