Body Dysmorphic Disorder & “Bigorexia” in Men

 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
A mental disorder in which an individual obsesses about their appearance, flaws & defects.

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1 in 50 of the general population is suffering with BDD, with 2.5% being men. Most people have certain flaws or body characteristics they might not like. They attend to these minor issues spending some time covering that flaw with makeup, clothing, or a simple cosmetic surgery. However, men with BDD are consumed by their thoughts 24/7 and go to the extreme. Their first thoughts in the morning, to their final reflections moments before falling asleep, can be consumed with negative comments to themselves.

Cue in “Bigorexia” a side relation to BDD in men, mostly focusing on the visible amount & size of their muscles. Men with BX put working out first above career, family & friends. Men with BX often are the ones that cram in “that” one more workout (hours-long workouts seem to never be enough), set unrealistic goals & tend to not have any inner peace or joy. BX consumes their thoughts most of the day to the point of depression & anxiety. Other characteristics may also include:

*Continues to train even with injuries
*Over use of supplements
*Steroid abuse
*Camouflage clothing to make them look bigger
*Constant visual body measuring in mirror

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The development of an eating disorder is also common with men with BDD & BX. Constant diet changes and fads to reach their unrealistic size or visible worth, often leads to depression. This depression leads to binge eating, and the aggressive diet cycle thus repeats. The next step is sometimes surgery. Men with BDD & BX sometimes go that extra step to attain the perfect size. They get calf/pec implants, laser fat removal, and more recently glute injections. Still the self unacceptance consumes their thoughts.

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“You can be a poster child for Ethiopian kids” – Doris K*

A link between early life bullying and BX often is prevalent. As someone who was taunted by family members & peers (*Doris, to a 13 y/o Lee), I understand this to be true. Some people don’t care to understand how their words and actions impacts a developing human. Physical and mental abuse distorts a young growing brain & can cause long term or permanent effects. There are ways to treat BDD and BX. Therapy, antidepressants, and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) are helpful treatments. If you deal with BDD or think you might struggle with some of the symptoms, consult your physician. You are not alone and shouldn’t feel embarrassed to seek helpful ways to deal with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Lee Gonzalez 💪🏼

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2 thoughts on “Body Dysmorphic Disorder & “Bigorexia” in Men

  1. I am grateful for this post, even as a woman, and will definitely share it. So little is shared about dysmorphia despite it’s prevalence in our society!
    Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great article! Growing up gay, I felt a need to overcompensate for areas of my character that lacked masculinity. I developed bigorexia for sure. In the past Ive gone to great lengths to maintain muscle mass and a “perfect” body. The one thing that remained constant was the voice in my head that told me I was too skinny and feminine no matter how big my muscles got. Although Ive quit using steroids and Im much easier on myself, still to this day I mentally measure my muscle size, or lack of, every time I look at myself in the mirror. I think awareness of this issue, and acknowledging that many others deal with it, is a huge step in overcoming the worst of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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