Bigorexia – reasons, symptoms and treatment

Bigorexia makes a person think that he has a poorly developed muscle mass, feel himself weak and thin. That is why it can be consider like muscle dysmorphia. It is also called the “Adonis complex” in honor of the Greek God who was addicted to his body’s beauty.

The craving for aesthetic canons of beauty makes such people have an obsessive desire to build their bodies. To achieve the ideal proportions and to develop the muscles to the desired size they are ready to sacrifice anything. Unfortunately, the main sacrificed thing is health.

Reasons of bigorexia

Probably the disorder was laid down in the mind when the patient was a child. For example, if the child has experienced ridicules from others. And it in some way it affects his adult life. Such attitude to the child can play a very bad role at that time, as his self-esteem establishes, and be one of the reasons of bigorexia.

bigorexia is muscle dysmorphia

That is why bigorexia is often diagnosed in people with hypertrophied sensitivity, impaired self-criticism, with a tendency to “self-digging”. Bigorexic honestly think his body is ugly and thee appearance flaws are too visible to others.

Less often, bigorexia can be one of the symptoms of another mental disorder. They are for example, schizophrenia, eating disorders, etc.

Experts can not accurately describe the reasons of bigorexia, except self-esteem distorted caused by different ways. A person perceives his own body to be dweeb and to too far from the ideal, even when objectively he has enough pumped up muscles.

But among the supposed reasons there can be identified the three main reasons of bigorexia:

  • Hereditary predisposition to phobias.Most part of psychologyst consider that bigorexia has biological roots. During the examination of the bigorexic patients there was a significant deficiency of serotonin found. It can be assumed that the insufficient synthesis of such hormones of happiness causes a predisposition to the development of bigorexia.
  • Negative opinions of the important people. Here sports psychologist or a coach SSILKI as authorities can play significant role both in good and bad ways.
  • Mass media pressure that creates the image of men with perfect muscle bodies. People compare themselves and the athletes and see their own bodies weak and not beautiful.

Symptoms of bigorexia

bigorexia treatment

Of course, not all people who regularly attends bodybuilding workouts are bigorexics. The statistics say that, only about 10% of them has the symptoms of bigorexia. To distinguish such people from healthy athletes, it is necessary to pay attention to the main signs of the disease:

  • too often looks in the mirror, seeing and defining one more drawback;
  • does not like to be photographed;
  • often asks about his appearance;
  • having problems with friendships and personal relationships;
  • low self-esteem;
  • always dissatisfied with his body;
  • tries to hide the “ugly” body under baggy oversized clothes;
  • training is everything, most of the conversations and thoughts are about training and diet.
  • diet, taking supplements for muscle building, steroid agents and stimulants;
  • fear of losing muscle mass;
  • having no free time – he spends it in the gym;
  • guilt for missed workouts, that can even cause aggression.

Bigorexia treatment

Special diet and exhausting training soon or late lead to visible mental disorders. A patient with bigorexia becomes a slave who serves the cult of his body with low self-confidence, depression and gradual isolation from society.

Besides, regular intake of steroids has a negative impact on health. There can develop impotence, cancer, the heart system problems.

In worst cases it can lead even to suicide, especially in situations with teenagers.

That is why the problem is important and the disorder must be cured. And it can be started with the same recommendations that are given to cure sports addiction. But main difficulty in bigorexia treatment is the fact that most patients do not see the problem and therefore do not want to both do anything himself and take help from others.

bigorexia treatment


But even if a person realizes that he has the problems, it is better to visit a psychotherapist. Of course, he can try to fight on his own. But without the knowledge he will move blindly and the treatment success is 50\50 this way.

Sometimes, when the patient is prone to the suicide, or has depression, the inpatient therapy required.

Bigorexia treatment is always made complexly. These are sessions of psychotherapy with medical treatment.

Psychotherapy for bigorexia is usually long – term and lasts at least six months.

Patients with bigorexia are given the opportunity to feel the impact of particular situations and reactions to them. Also, they are set up to control their own thoughts. The fact is that the main degree of stress is provoked not directly by feelings or beliefs, but by unsuccessful attempts to overcome them.

It is useful to view realistic pictures of people’s appearance to form the idea of the difference between real beauty and photo retouching.

With the help of these techniques, patients establish control over personal invented problems that are associated with their own body.

At the fixing stage of bigorexia treatment, the doctor can resort to hypnosis. During the session, the patient is immersed in a kind of state in which the necessary “correct” settings are establishing.

If the bigorexia treatment was carried out right way and in time the prognosis is good for patient.

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