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Healthline Connects
Healthline Connects

Scientific Inquiry Leads to Interesting Discovery: Galaxy Star is a Compulsive Tatter

Duplicate concepts are the bane of terminology editors everywhere. I was trying to tease out tattoo disorder. Is there such a thing? I never heard of it. Couldn't find any reference to it in the Medical Literature, so seeking the wisdom of the masses - Web 2.0 style - I Googled it. Lo and behold, I learned something. And if you don't know who this man is, you haven't done nothing.

Great thanks to Vikas, in Shimla, India writing at TattooBlog: Colors of Freedom. Vikas posts "Beckham Suffering from 'tattoo obsessive compulsive disorder'"Apparently, Mr. Beckham has admitted to having a problem with OCD. That's got to be rough for him, his family and his teammates. No word on whether or not he is in treatment or on medication for OCD. Vikas quotes Beckham as saying he is "addicted to the pain of the needles and tattoos...". I think that might be a different diagnosis.

Some of the literature out there indicates that extreme obsession with body art and tattoos may be a manifestation of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). A tragic sentence I found embedded in this link is that as many as 50% of patients undergoing plastic surgery may have BDD. It is unconscionable that surgeons are doing elective procedures on mentally ill people. It is down right predatory. It is time we call we for psychiatric screening prior to elective cosmetic surgery. Maybe we need to do the same for tattoos, especially in minors.

BDD has a high rate of comorbidity - it is usually seen with major depression, OCD or social phobia. Although it starts in late adolescence, it usually isn't diagnosed until people are in their 30's. I think body art is beautiful, but suffering is not, and profiting from the suffering of others is ugly. I doubt that if their patrons have a mental illness, tattoo artists have a clue, but cosmetic surgeons do.

Accepted forms of treatment are a combination of medications and psychotherapy. Extreme cases may require hospitalization. Untreated cases can result in suicide. The warning signs are obsession with appearance.

Thank you calmenda for use of beckham image.

Thank you to Middleton Tattoo Studios for use of image.

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