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Muscle Dysmorphia

Muscle dysmorphia: Muscle dysmorphia is a newly diagnosed disorder characterized by a prolonged period of almost continuous eating, resulting in hypertrophy of the limbs and interrupted by bodybuilding training in the gym. Those who suffer from muscle dysmorphia always see their body as being too small, no matter how much weight they can, or how large their muscles become. The sufferer lives in a constant fear of being too small.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) takes on many shapes and can be described as extremely negative distortions in how people think they look. Both men and women are affected equally by the disorder, but in terms of muscle dysmorphia or "bigorexia" men are affected more than women. BDD is a fixation on supposed flaws & defects, which can cause increased anxiety. People with the disorder will check themselves in a mirror compulsively or in some cases do the opposite by trying to avoid their image entirely. Everything seems to revolve around their grotesque "flaws", called "ideas of reference". People with the disorder believe everything bad is due to their "defect". Suffering and impairment is profound. Are they delusional? Those with the disorder believe their flaws are real and do not know that their perception is irrational.

Causes and Treatments

Sometimes co-occurs with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Might BDD and OCD be related? Very likely. Do the same drugs help? For OCD - Clomipramine does help. Plain old Anti-depressants are not as effective. Exposure and response prevention techniques help. Cosmetic surgery is not the answer.

Muscle dysmorphic disorder is a very real form of BDD and must be treated if signs and symptoms are noticed:
  • Working out Obsessively
  • Checking Constantly for Gains in Mass
  • Complaining that they are too Thin
  • Fixation on Perfect Nutrition to Gain Mass
  • Constantly Thinking / Talking About Bodybuilding
  • Social / Work Related Problems
  • Anxiety When Away From the Gym
  • Gym is #1 Priority in Life
Sometimes the men with the disorder workout to the point where they will sustain permanent muscle damage. Their social lives and work lives can be significantly affected by the disorder. As mentioned above, treatment should be saught when symptoms are noticed.


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