Good News: People with Facial Disfigurements Aren't as Depressed as You'd Think

K. Mathews on 22 Dec 2011 at 2:00pm

The anguish of living with a facial disfigurement may seem like a lot to bear, but new research published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons demonstrates that patients with facial scars and deformities are psychologically on par with those without disfigurements. According to Dr. Sarah L. Versnel, reconstructive surgery, self-esteem development, and therapy all appear to contribute to “relatively normal” mental functioning.  

The study examined 59 adults who were born with facial disfigurement and 59 adults who acquired facial trauma through an accident, as well as 120 adults who were free of disfigurement to compare each group. The results conceded that those with facial deformities did struggle with mild depression and anxiety more than the average person. However, they were not more prone to clinical levels of these mental health afflictions.

Surveys revealed that the mental health of people with a disfigurement had less to do with the severity of the facial defects and more to do with how they felt about their own appearance. Since patients who cared less about the opinions of others showed better mental health than those who were concerned about what others thought of their faces, the researchers recommend therapy that encourages patients to deemphasize the opinions of their peers.

Photo credit: Dr. Babak Azizzadeh