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Muscle and Body Dysmorphia

Muscle and Body Dysmorphia Treatment in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah

Sometimes referred to as “reverse anorexia” or “bigorexia,” body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, where the focus is directed toward the level of your masculinity or being lean in the right areas.

While it’s normal to be concerned about your physical health and appearance, it becomes a disorder when you find yourself becoming preoccupied or depressed about “flaws” you find in your physique. It’s not an issue of vanity; you simply want to look and feel normal when it comes to society’s standards.

You know you’re healthy, you eat well, and exercise often. But body and muscle dysmorphia are just as much of a concern as issues like anorexia and bulimia in our Summit County clients.

Who Does Body Dysmorphia Impact?

Heterosexual males are the most common group of individuals to be affected by BDD. Although women may experience body dysmorphia, it isn’t thought to be as common in females as it is in men.

Generally, people with body dysmorphia are affected by things such as:

  • A traumatic childhood, such as domestic violence or being bullied
  • Work environments where image and body type play an important role
  • Other body concerns, such as short height, penis size, or male pattern baldness
  • Healthy individuals, especially athletes and athletic trainers, where societal standards place a value on larger size and more muscle mass

Body Dysmorphia: Recognizing the Signs

While body and muscle dysmorphia is usually seen more frequently in weight lifters, it can affect any athlete who is overcome by the “demands” of physical training and competitiveness. As such, it can sometimes be more difficult to discern from rigid athletic activities.

Some of the most common signs of actual muscle or body dysmorphia include:

  • Camouflaging the body by wearing loose clothing, padding specific areas, wearing wigs/hats, etc.
  • Mood swings
  • Excessive supplement use and protein intake
  • When workouts interfere with major life events or job commitments
  • Excessive overtraining that leads to repeat injuries
  • Feeling that you need to work harder to make your body attractive
  • Panicking if you miss a workout
  • Seeking out surgical or medication options to treat issues like height, hair, etc.
  • Spending excessive amounts of time looking at yourself in the mirror
  • Obsessive eating patterns or diet
  • Spending large amounts of money on supplements
  • Substance abuse (including steroids)

What is Muscle Dysmorphia?

Muscle dysmorphic disorder (MDD) is a type of BDD. It’s estimated that 1 out of 10 men who are obsessive gym-goers in Salt Lake City or Park City suffer from some form of MDD, with tens of thousands of people affected each year. No matter how hard you work out, you may never feel like you’re muscular or lean enough in the right areas.

MDD and BDD isn’t to be confused with rigid bodybuilding or rigorous athletic training, although to some people they may appear to be the same; body dysmorphia affects personal and professional relationships, because of the level of obsession involved, where healthy bodybuilding does not. In fact, most people don’t realize that they suffer from muscle dysmorphia until they’ve suffered from physical injuries due to their disorder’s severity.

Bigorexia Treatment Near Park City and Salt Lake City  

It’s challenging for MDD and BDD sufferers to reach out for help, because they fear it will impact their performance. But when football, bodybuilding, wrestling, or weightlifting are leading to self-destructive behaviors and damaged relationships, it’s time to get help.

Finding a healthy balance of your passion and your personal commitments is key. You can be healthy, even during the course and following cognitive behavior therapy for bigorexia.

At The Dell Center for Therapy, we’re passionate about being both emotionally and physically fit. Our Summit County behavioral therapists understand the demands and focus required of professional and endurance athletes. Contact our Park City location to find out how we can help you get your life back, without giving up your passions.

We’ll meet with you at the gym, on a walk in the park, or even via teleconference. Schedule your consultation today.