Reid Ewing, of the show Modern Family, has opened up about his battle with body dysmorphia, saying he has struggled with the disorder all his life, leading him to undergo several cosmetic surgery procedures which he now regrets.
The 27-year-old suffers from Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) - a condition that induces the sufferer to imagine physical defects in their appearance which others often cannot see. He revealed that due to his condition, he had his first cosmetic surgery procedure in 2008 after moving to Los Anegeles to become an actor when he was 19.
"I genuinely believed if I had one procedure I would suddenly look like Brad Pitt," he wrote in a Huffington Post blog. After a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon, he decided to get cheek implants, however, things did not go as he had hoped.
"I woke up screaming my head off from pain, with tears streaming down my face," Reid wrote in the blog. After the procedure, the actor had to wear a full face mask but didn't want to be seen this way in public so he spent two weeks in a hotel "doped up on [the pain medication] hydrocodone."
When the TV star removed the bandages he realised his face had swollen up, and even after the swelling went down, the results of the surgery were extremely disappointing. "The lower half of my cheeks were as hollow as a corpse's," he said. "I went back to the doctor several times in a frenzy, but he kept refusing to operate on me for another six months, saying I would eventually get used to the change. I couldn't let anyone see me like this, so I stayed in complete isolation."
The Fright Night actor said strangers would stare at him and even his family thought he was sick. To fix his botched procedure, the actor sought out more plastic surgery with a new doctor.
"The next one I found was even less qualified, but I didn't care; I just wanted out of my situation," he wrote. "I told him my story, and he suggested I get a chin implant. I asked if it would repair my sunken-in face, and he said I would be so happy with my looks it wouldn't matter to me."
This led Reid to get more cosmetic surgery procedures over the next couple of years. "Each procedure would cause a new problem that I would have to fix with another procedure," he explained. "Anyone who has had a run-in with bad cosmetic surgery knows this is true."
However, in 2012, he decided he needed to deal with his plastic surgery addiction. "All the isolation, secrecy, depression and self-hate became too much to bear," he wrote. "I vowed I would never get cosmetic surgery again even though I was still deeply insecure about my looks. It took me about six months before I was comfortable with people even looking at me."
The American star revealed that over the course of his visits with various plastic surgeons, not one suggested that he may need a mental health screening. "My history with eating disorders and the cases of obsessive compulsive disorder in my family never came up," he said. "None of the doctors suggested I consult a psychologist for what was clearly a psychological issue rather than a cosmetic one, or warn me about the potential for addiction."
The South Dakota actor advised others who want plastic surgery to consider the reasons they want it before getting on the operating table. "Before seeking to change your face, you should question whether it is your mind that needs fixing," he said. "It's a horrible hobby, and it will eat away at you until you have lost all self-esteem and joy. 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."