Muscle dysmorphia, also known as bigorexia is still relatively unknown yet it’s believed that one in 10 men in the UK who are regular gym-goers could be suffering from it.
The anxiety disorder causes someone to believe that they’re small despite being big and muscular. Although it can affect both men and women, more men have been known to suffer from it as they’re feeling increasing pressure to achieve the ‘ideal’ muscular body as so frequently portrayed by the media.
Similarly to other eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, if left untreated, bigorexia can lead to depression, the abuse of unnatural substances (in this case steroids) and even suicide.
Rob Wilson, Chair of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation addressed the fact that this condition is a growing problem but fears that many cases are going undiagnosed because there is still such little awareness about it. He commented:
“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. Sometimes individuals can become very depressed and hopeless and that can even lead to suicide.”
Speaking about the causes of bigorexia, Mr Wilson said that men are increasingly conditioned to think that they need to look a certain way if they want to be successful, have power and be deemed to be attractive. Aside from social pressures, the causes of bigorexia are still unclear but it is thought that genetics, a chemical imbalance in the brain and life experiences could factor into it.
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering with an eating disorder, anxiety or depression, please feel free to contact Life Works in the strictest of confidence and we will be more than happy to help.