Reid Ewing

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Reid Ewing, who has played Haley Dunphy's on-and-off boyfriend Dylan Marshall on ABC's Modern Family since its first season in 2009, has opened up about his struggle with body dysmorphia and addiction to plastic surgery in a Huffington Post blog post published Thursday.

"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. I had just moved to L.A. to become an actor and had very few, if any, friends," he explained at the beginning. "I'd sit alone in my apartment and take pictures of myself from every angle, analyzing every feature."

Ewing got his first procedure in 2008, when he received cheek implants at age 19. "I genuinely believed if I had one procedure I would suddenly look like Brad Pitt," the actor, now 27, wrote.

During his two-week recovery, Ewing had to wear a full facial mask and take painkillers. The cheek implants were "nothing like I had expected," he wrote. "The results were horrendous." During that time, he left L.A. and headed to Joshua Tree. "My face was so impossibly swollen."

According to Ewing, after undergoing cosmetic surgery, the lower half of his 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. They would be more aptly called cheekbone implants." He went to see his doctor several times "in a frenzy," but the plastic surgeon, he said, "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. 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."

Dissatisfied, Ewing found another surgeon, who suggested a different procedure. Now 20 years old, Ewing went under the knife again. "Only a few days passed when I noticed I could move the chin implant under my skin, easily moving it from one side of my face to another. I rushed back to the surgeon, and acknowledging he had made a mistake, he operated on me again," he said.

"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. Anyone who has had a run-in with bad cosmetic surgery knows this is true," the actor wrote, explaining that he was able to pay for the surgeries with money from acting. In addition, Ewing said he also borrowed money from his parents and grandmother "when I was most desperate."

"Much of this was going on during the same time period I was shooting Modern Family. Most of the times I was on camera were when I'd had the numerous implants removed and was experimenting with less-noticeable changes to my face, like injectable fillers and fat transfers. None of them last very long or are worth the money," Ewing wrote. "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," he added. "It took me about six months before I was comfortable with people even looking at me."

Ewing explained that he decided to speak out after seeing his first doctor offering cosmetic surgery tips on TV and in a magazine. "Before seeking to change your face, you should question whether it is your mind that needs fixing. "Of the four doctors who worked on me, not one had mental health screenings in place for their patients, except for asking if I had a history of depression, which I said I did, and that was that. My history with eating disorders and the cases of obsessive compulsive disorder in my family never came up," he wrote. "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." Plastic surgery "is not always a bad thing," he said, as some people need it for "serious" cases. Still, he said, "It's a horrible hobby."

"I wish I could go back and undo all the surgeries," Ewing wrote in conclusion for his Huffington Post blog. "Now I can see that I was fine to begin with and didn't need the surgeries after all."

For more about body dysmorphic disorder, visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

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