Bigorexia - Muscle Dysmorphia

Bigorexia, sometimes called 'Reverse Anorexia' or 'Muscle Dysmorphia' is a term used to describe behaviour whereby the individual has a distorted view of themselves and belief that they are too small, in a muscular sense, when they are not. Such behaviour is sometimes seen in bodybuilders and strength athletes and can be severely socially disabling, with individuals afraid to be seen in public or wearing large clothes to disguise their bodies.

Although unrecognised, some members of the scientific community do consider it to be linked to eating disorders, in particular anorexia nervosa. Similarly, body image distortions and extreme preoccupations to remedy the situation occur, albeit in a reverse direction. The use of steroids and anabolic agents, and the associated health risks to achieve the desired goal, may be seen to be strikingly similar to the use of laxatives, diuretics and slimming pills in anorexia and bulimia nervosa sufferers. They are also likely to have self-esteem and 'coping' issues in common. Bigorexia is considered to affect more men than women and there may be connections between Bigorexia and anorexia nervosa in terms of perceived gender ideals.

“I can’t emphasise enough what a massive part SWEDA have played in my journey to finding myself again. They are an incredible charity and are brilliant at their job. Over the past two years I have really started to understand myself and I have addressed issues that I had hid away in the past and with my counsellor’s amazing listening, non-judgmental and supportive skills I have been able to take back control of myself and rationally look at my emotions in day to day life."

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