Muscle dysmorphia, also known as reverse anorexia or bigorexia is a condition in which a person becomes obsessively focussed on being too small and not muscular enough. People with muscle dysmorphia resort to a variety of measures to try to increase muscle mass. These measures may include excessive exercise including weight lifting and other body building exercises, excessive attention to diet, misuse of high protein diet, misuse of steroids and other muscle-building drugs.
Muscle dysmorphia can affect both men and women although it is more common in men and in most cases the person affected in not in reality small or lacking in musculature. In fact, many body-builders are affected.
The obsession with becoming more muscular takes over the person’s life to the extent that it may cause a person to forego or to avoid important social, work related or recreational activities. The preoccupation causes major distress and can have a severe impact on relationships as the person’s life becomes restricted to the pursuit of an unattainable ideal body.
A person with muscle dysmorphia will continue to work out and / or diet despite knowing that it is dangerous to their health and general wellbeing. Because of the distortion in self perception it can be very difficult for the person to recognise that they need help.
Muscle failure, osteoporosis, heart and kidney failure are among some of the risks associated with muscle dysmorphia. Depression is often co-existent with the condition.
Treatment should involve medical evaluation and monitoring as well as psychological therapy. A cognitive behavioural approach is often used.
Muscle Dysmorphia Interview
Audio interview featuring a personal account of the condition know as Muscle Dysmorphia, sometimes refered to as reverse anorexia.
Click here to download the audio interview to your computer for playback. (MP3 file)