Women can have muscle dysmorphia or bigorexia. The condition, however, is more common in men than in women.
- Muscle dysmorphia is more common in teens and young adults.
- Studies report that it affects about 0.5 percent of all men although these data are probably an underestimation.
- It can be seen in both heterosexual and homosexual men.
With growing interests in staying fit and muscular, there may be an increasing prevalence of muscle dysmorphia. Increasing participation of women in sports or athletics may further the tendency of muscle dysmorphia among women.
What is muscle dysmorphia?
Muscle dysmorphia (bigorexia) is a type of body dysmorphic disorder in which the person falsely views themselves as too weak or thin despite not being so. They may falsely believe that they have too low muscle mass or are not lean enough despite being muscular or having a normal physique.
Muscle dysmorphia is particularly common in bodybuilders, athletes, and people involved in resistance training.
Such false body image may be associated with:
- Having a poor body image
- Doing excessive workouts including heavy weight lifting
- Taking a lot of supplements including anabolic steroids to bulk up
- Being too rigid about their diet
- Tending to repeatedly look into the mirror because of not being confident about how they look
- Avoiding social interactions so that their diet or exercise routine is not disrupted
- Being too obsessed about how they look and how to achieve their desired physique
- Constantly comparing their physique with others
- Having a constant need to seek reassurance about their looks
A person with muscle dysmorphia may have low self-esteem although exaggerated or high self-esteem may also be seen. The constant indulgence in getting “big” may result in social isolation and a higher risk of depression, anxiety, or suicidal tendencies. The affected person may even resort to risky procedures or surgeries to correct their falsely perceived defects.
What causes muscle dysmorphia?
The exact cause of muscle dysmorphia is unknown; however, certain factors may increase a person’s likelihood of getting this disorder, such as:
- Being bullied or teased for one’s looks during childhood
- Peer pressure for getting an “ideal” physique
- Being too obsessed with the social or cultural norms of good looks
- Being influenced by the way media portrays “perfect” bodies
- Having mental or emotional issues such as anxiety or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Being brought up in a family where parents or caregivers were too critical of the person’s appearance
- Being rejected or betrayed on grounds of looks
- Having a history of traumatic events during childhood
How do you treat muscle dysmorphia?
Muscle dysmorphia can be effectively treated with psychological therapy and family support. Medications may be added when required.
- Psychotherapy: It involves counseling provided by a qualified mental health professional. The provider generally uses cognitive behavior therapy to help the person realize the issue, what is causing it, and how to deal with it.
- Exposure and response prevention: Here, the person is made to realize that their negative perceptions about themselves are false with the help of thoughts and real-life situations.
- Group or family therapy: Here, the person’s family or friends may be involved in the therapy to help them recover better.
- Medications: Muscle dysmorphia is often associated with depression and anxiety. The doctor may prescribe medications (such as antidepressants) to treat these disorders.
- FDA Panel Backs RSV Vaccine for Infants, Some Toddlers
- Seniors: Stay Social, Active for 'Optimal Aging,' Study Shows
- Diabetes Med Metformin Might Help Prevent Long COVID
- Disability a Growing Concern for U.S. Cancer Survivors
- Smoke From Wildfires Is Especially Tough If You Have Asthma. Here’s How to Protect Yourself
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Can Women Have Muscle Dysmorphia (Bigorexia) Related Articles
How Can I Boost My Mood and Mental Health Naturally?Mental health affects how you think, feel, and interact with the outside world. Boost your mood and mental health naturally by getting enough sleep, moving, eating well, stepping outside, and doing something you enjoy.
What Is the Difference Between Mental Wellness and Mental Health?When your mental health is in a good state this is called mental wellness. It means that your mind is functioning as it should be and that you can function in positive ways in your life.
Does Body Dysmorphic Get Worse With Age?Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) can worsen with age if left undiagnosed or untreated in the early teenage years.
How Do You Know if You Have Body Dysmorphia?Body dysmorphia or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a type of mental health problem. In this disease, you are always preoccupied with how you look. You have an intense concern about not looking good or having a flawed appearance. This concern often interferes with your everyday tasks.
How Grief Can Affect Your HealthGrief is a natural part of life, but it can cause some health issues, at least for a while. Find out how grief can affect your body and what you can do about it.
How Do Mental Health Issues Affect a Person Physically?Mental health issues can make you more prone to developing chronic diseases and other physical problems, from headaches to high blood pressure.
Is Journaling Good for Mental Health?Journaling is the process of writing down your thoughts, ideas, and feelings. While writing your way out of depression might not be possible, journaling may help lower symptoms of depression.
Mental HealthMental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under the umbrella of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders are common types of mental illness. Symptoms and signs of mental illness include irritability, moodiness, insomnia, headaches, and sadness. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Mental Health: Signs You're Mentally ExhaustedAre you irritable, tired, and finding it hard to focus? You may be mentally exhausted. Learn the signs and how to feel better.
Mental Health: Substance Abuse in Older AdultsAbuse of alcohol and drugs among older people has been called the invisible epidemic. Learn what to look out for to protect yourself or a loved one.
methocarbamolMethocarbamol is a medication used to relieve muscle spasms, and relax neck and jaw muscle contraction (lockjaw) caused by tetanus, a serious bacterial infection. Common side effects of methocarbamol include slow heart rate (bradycardia), low blood pressure (hypotension), inflammation with blood clots in the vein (thrombophlebitis), fainting (syncope), flushing, confusion, memory loss (amnesia), sleeplessness (insomnia), dizziness/lightheadedness, vertigo, drowsiness, sedation, mild impairment of muscular coordination, seizures (including grand mal), double vision (diplopia), and others.
Can You Self-Diagnose Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?Body dysmorphic disorder is a serious mental health condition that affects about 1 out of every 50 people. In this, your mind is always preoccupied with a negative outlook toward your body features. It is estimated that nearly 5 to 10 million Americans suffer from this disorder. Figures may be more than these in reality. This is because people with body dysmorphic disorder feel awkward to consult their doctor regarding their negative thoughts and feelings; hence, the condition goes undiagnosed in many people.
What Are the Top 10 Mental Health Issues and Illnesses?Mental illnesses can affect how you think, feel, and understand the world. The top 10 mental health issues and illnesses include anxiety disorders, bipolar affective disorders, depression, dissociative disorders, eating disorders, paranoia, PTSD, psychosis, schizophrenia and OCD.