Bigorexia: Do You Have It and How to Beat It If You Do?

Body dysmorphia is a mental health condition where a person can’t stop thinking about its physical flaws and appearance.

This condition usually affects all facets of a person’s life, from social activity to job performance.

A sub-type of body dysmorphia called muscle dysmorphia, mostly known to the gym crowd as bigorexia, was identified in the 1990s. Men are mostly affected by this condition, but athletes, in general, tend to make up the bulk of the affected population, including many women athletes.

People who have it are overly obsessed with their bodies, thinking they are never big, muscular, or lean enough. But, in a lot of the cases, people who have it are already much more buff than most people.

Bigorexia: Do You Have It and How to Beat It If You Do? from Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse NY

Do You Have It?

Researchers have identified some groups of people that may have an increased risk of developing bigorexia.

These include adolescents, bodybuilders and athletes, people with low self-esteem (especially males), and more.

Anabolic steroid users usually tend to be more susceptible to muscle dysmorphia. Also, bodybuilders seem to be at a much higher risk than other athletes, like weightlifters, runners, and martial artists.

You may fall into a few of these groups, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have it. Although it would be best if you keep in mind that you might be at risk of developing it.

The Effects of Bigorexia

Those suffering from this condition are so obsessed with their physical appearance when it comes to their musculature that they can develop depression.

They frequently turn down social invitations, avoid situations where they will be seen shirtless, and even wear multiple layers of clothes during the summer to look bigger.

While low self-esteem and poor body image may cause bigorexia in the first place, the condition can further deteriorate these two, creating a bad loop.

Disordered eating and compulsive obsessive disorder may also be a part of an individual’s condition. Meticulous meal-prepping, measuring every milligram of food consumed, and absolutely no leisure when it comes to the diet are commonly seen in this group. They think that nothing short of a perfectly dialed-in diet will get them the body they want.

And while nutrition is vital for muscle building and fat loss, being so religious about it that it becomes a stressful experience isn’t necessary.

One study published in the Zahedan Journal of Research in Medical Sciences in 2017 showed that instances of muscle dysmorphia are significantly higher in people who use supplements and steroids. They also saw that social physique anxiety and muscle dysmorphia can predict the likelihood of anabolic steroid use down the line.

How To Battle It?

Diagnosing muscle dysmorphia can be challenging because people don’t want to admit they are struggling with it. When it comes to beating it successfully, realizing you have a problem is a crucial first step.

Constant mirror checking, extreme exercising, and working out through injuries are some of the signs you might have it.

The most promising method of helping people beat body dysmorphia is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s a talking therapy with the premise of recognizing thought patterns and changing your brain’s response.

Cognitive restructuring is another method that is used to help with bigorexia. It’s a psychotherapy that focuses on reprogramming a person’s body image and body-related thoughts. The first step in treating body dysmorphia is to replace irrational beliefs with body-positive ones. It uses Socratic questioning and thought recording, among other things, and is frequently used in cognitive behavioral therapy.

You’ll need to seek out professional help to get access to these methods. Unfortunately, many people feel ashamed to ask for help or feel like they don’t need help.

Body dysmorphia is a really serious condition as it can even lead to suicide in some cases, not to mention the adverse health side effects that come with steroid abuse.

Try meditating and being mindful. This can help ease your anxiety and calm your mind.

Identify triggers when you notice them, as you can use that information to find a solution to your condition. It can be anything from Instagram to billboard advertisements. For example, some people may need to get a home gym in order to avoid significant triggers.

Keep a journal where you’ll note your feelings and symptoms. It would be great if you could also write a gratitude journal, as they were shown to make people happier, reduce stress, improve sleep, and maybe even reduce the risk of heart disease.

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