For doctors consulting with their patients on cosmetic and aesthetic procedures, communicating with them about their end goal is of utmost importance. When they come into your practice, they are ready to ask questions about the procedure they want and have an idea of what they want their results to look like. However, a patient may show some troubling signs that would not make it ethical to perform elective procedures on them. The past year has been challenging for many people, and some may not be in a mindset that makes them a good candidate for aesthetic treatment.
Here are five tips for assessing aesthetics patients’ mental health.
Ask About the Past Year
As COVID-19 continues into 2021, fatigue over limitations and restrictions has taken a toll on people’s mental health. Job loss, death of loved ones, and drastic lifestyle changes have contributed to stress and anxiety for a large portion of the population. Make sure to ask your patients these questions in a patient, delicate manner, as not to trigger them. During this process, you may be able to gauge if refusing treatment is necessary.
Ask About Body Image
Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. People with Body Dysmorphia Disorder are likely to be dissatisfied with the outcome of aesthetic procedures and obsess over their perceived flaws. They also often seek multiple follow-up procedures in an attempt to get their desired look. It may be appropriate to refuse treatment when patients show signs of BDD, ask for procedures that do not apply to them, or have unrealistic expectations for the results. Asking questions about any possible body dysmorphia can help you decide if they are ready for aesthetic procedures. Referring patients to mental health resources and therapists may also be appropriate.
Take Knowledge About Aesthetics A Step Further
For many patients looking to have non-surgical procedures, they have done the research and have a realistic expectation of how their results will look like. For those who may be suffering from mental health issues, rushing into procedures and having unrealistic expectations is a common problem. As a practitioner, you are expected to be highly knowledgeable about various aspects of the aesthetics field. Be prepared to answer questions about facial anatomy, the science behind aesthetics, and how procedures can alter appearances. Want to take your knowledge a step further? The American Association of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery (AAAMS) offers aesthetic training in many areas. Introduction to Aesthetics (INTRO 101), for example, allows students to explore the aesthetics processes. AAAMS also offers other classes, such as CE Accredited Aesthetics Training 101, which is a two-day comprehensive online training for the practitioners in the comfort of their homes.
Remember, Ethics Come First
Performing any kind of permanent procedures on vulnerable groups can damage your reputation as an ethical practitioner. If you sense concerning reasons as to why a patient may want Botulinum Toxins (Botox) or Dermal Filler Injections, you may not want to go any further into their consultation. If this is the case, be firm in your decision to not treat this patient.
Recognize When Help Is Needed
For patients you are unsure whether to refer to psychiatric help, your judgment alone may not suffice. Even if you are an experienced practitioner, psychologists and psychotherapists are trained to assess mental health concerns and may need to review the patient to bring up any issues with getting aesthetic procedures.
Communication and transparency during the consultation process with future patients is the first step to assessing their mental health. To better understand aesthetics practice and the ways this is used for treatments, AAAMS has several aesthetic courses to help broaden your knowledge.