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Muscle Dysmorphia

What is Muscle Dysmorphia?

 

Muscle Dysmorphia is a disorder that causes a person to constantly obsess and/or worry about being too small, underdeveloped, and/or underweight. Typically those who have Muscle Dysmorphia are not frail or underdeveloped at all, and actually have large muscle mass. They obsess about having the perfect physique and believe their muscles are inadequate.

 

This disorder is a form of Body Dysmorphic Disorder and is related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Those with Muscle Dysmorphia constantly obsess over their imperfections, further distorting their self perception. This can significantly impair the person's mood, often causing depression or other emotional distress. Feelings of inadequacy may affect many areas of their life.

Who develops Muscle Dysmorphia?

 

Both men and women can be affected by this disorder, although men are most susceptible. It is estimated that approximately 10% of the men who are obsessive gym-goers have this disorder. Many of these people may compete in body building competitions and are addicted to lifting weights. One reason Muscle Dysmorphia may be a common disorder is due to the common stereotype that men are supposed to be big and strong.

Warning Signs of Muscle Dysmorphia May Include

 

  • Distorted self-image
  • Missing social events, skipping work, and cancelling plans in order to work out
  • Never being satisfied with one's muscle mass
  • Working out despite an injury
  • Maintaining extreme workout methods
  • Maintaining a strict, high-protein and low-fat diet
  • Using excessive amounts of food supplements
  • Steroid abuse, unnecessary plastic surgery, and even suicide attempts
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