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Everything You Need to Know About Bigorexia

Muscular dysmorphia is often referred to as bigorexia, which perhaps gives more of an indication into what this body image disorder entails; a belief that an individual is too small, or insufficiently muscular, and the desire to gain muscle or become more lean, despite their body being normal or muscular already.

It is sometimes referred to as the opposite of anorexia, and regardless of how much these individuals workout, they never feel their body is muscular enough. According to Very Well Mind, those with the disorder will continue to train through pain and even broken bones, and their desire to workout will often interfere with their everyday life. For example, they will miss events with family and friends, as well as work commitments so as not to disrupt their workout schedule. This also includes obsessively looking in the mirror, multiple times a day, and potentially the abuse of anabolic steroids and supplements.

Bigorexia affects a large percentage of men, however, because there is little awareness of this disorder it often goes undiagnosed. “We know about 10 percent of men in the gym may have muscle dysmorphia,” Rob Wilson, chair of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation told BBC. "There are thousands upon thousands with it, who are going to be excessively concerned about their appearance, having very poor self-esteem, and also feeling very anxious and very worried," he added.

This body image disorder can make some individuals so depressed that they may even have suicidal thoughts.

So, who is at risk? According to Very Well Mind, the condition is more common in men, although it can affect women too. It can develop because of the pressure from the media to conform to a certain “ideal” shape, and the publication notes that “Most men with bigorexia are weightlifters, but this does not mean that most weightlifters are bigorexic.”

The Independent also notes that life experience could be a factor in this disorder, and those who were teased, bullied or abused in their youth, could develop it. But the NHS also states that bigorexia could be a genetic disorder, or caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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