Muscle Dysmorphia (Bigorexia)

Muscle Dysmorphia (Bigorexia)

Muscle dysmorphia is a condition whereby the sufferer is preoccupied with thoughts of wanting to look more muscular and in a similar way to anorexia, perceives themselves to be skinny, regardless of their actual physical size. This has led to the condition being dubbed 'Bigorexia' or 'Reverse-Anorexia', a reference to its being the opposite of anorexia in a sense. (Morgan, 2008)

Symptoms

Common recognisable symptoms of Muscle Dysmorphia include:

  • Preoccupation with body image in particular the wish to look muscular
  • Intense fear of losing weight and 'withering away'
  • Excessive exercise with the aim of 'bulking-up'
  • Planning and often neglecting other life activities around exercise
  • Adhering to unconventional diets to help achieve the 'ideal' body shape
  • Use of steroids or dietary supplements aimed at increasing muscle mass
  • Avoidance of situations where the individual's body could be exposed due to feelings of inadequacy

How is it treated?

Muscle dysmorphia shares many similarities with eating disorders, as well as OCD and can therefore be treated in a similar way including psychotherapy such as CBT and other psychotherapies.

As with all eating disorders, the first point of contact if you think you or someone close to you may be suffering from muscle dysmorphia is your local GP.

For more information on where to go to get help please see our Getting Help section.

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