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What is Bigorexia (also referred to as muscle dysmorphia or reverse anorexia)? It’s a form of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (DSM 5) that results in a variety of obsessive-compulsive behaviors regarding diet and fitness Individuals with bigorexia develop an obsession with their muscularity believing themselves to be too weak and small no matter how big their muscles are. The condition is also referred to as ‘reverse anorexia.’ In anorexia, a person diets excessively due to a fear of gaining weight but fails to see himself thin enough, in contrast, in bigorexia, the person eats excessively especially high-protein foods to develop a big body but fails to ever see himself big enough.
It’s characterized by an intense fear that one is insufficiently muscular no matter how muscular he is in the reality:
Who gets it?
Although men are most susceptible, both men and women can be affected by this disorder. Approximately 10% of the men who are obsessive gym-goers have this disorder
What are the symptoms of bigorexia?
Long-term effects of bigorexia
Individuals who suffer from bigorexia follow very strict diets, and they will rarely eat at someone else’s house or at a restaurant because they cannot control the dietary balance or know what exactly was put into the meal, which could leads some individuals to develop eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, high blood pressure, can cause liver failure and heart attacks.
Also, the use of drugs such as anabolic steroids is a common occurrence among bigorexics. Men continue to use steroids despite the side effects they experience, such as acne, impotence, baldness, breast enlargement, increased aggression, testicular shrinkage and impotence.
How is it treated?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Enhaced (CBT-E) is the most effective treatment for bigorexia. CBT-E is a special kind of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) developed by Prof Christopher Fairburn (Oxford University) that is specifically designed to treat the Eating Disorders
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