Muscle Dysmorphia..........do you have it?

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    Question Muscle Dysmorphia..........do you have it?


    I am doing a project on muscle dysmorphia for my sports psychology class. I know that this is something very personal, but if anyone has any experience with the disorder could you please give me some insight into what it's like? Do you think that this is a real disorder? Or is it just something that doctors made up to try and bring you down? Basically I would like to see what everyone thinks about the subject.


    Here is a little history for those that have never heard of it............

    Muscle dysmorphia (bigorexia)

    * What is muscle dysmorphia?

    Sometimes called bigorexia, muscle dysmorphia is the opposite of anorexia nervosa. People with this disorder obsess about being small and undeveloped. They worry that they are too little and too frail. Even if they have good muscle mass, they believe their muscles are inadequate.

    In efforts to fix their perceived smallness, people with muscle dysmorphia lift weights, do resistance training, and exercise compulsively. They may take steroids or other muscle-building drugs, a practice with potentially lethal consequences.

    * Who gets muscle dysmorphia?

    Both men and women. So far there are no statistics available, but researchers suspect the disorder is more common in males since the culturally defined ideal male is big and strong while the ideal female is small and thin.

    * Consequences of muscle dysmorphia

    The constant preoccupation with perceived smallness interferes with school and career accomplishments. It robs friendships and romantic relationships of spontaneity and enjoyment. Since the person is exceedingly self-conscious at all times, s/he cannot relax and enjoy life without worrying about how other people may be seeing, and criticizing, the perceived smallness.

    In almost all cases, people with muscle dysmorphia are not small at all. Many have well-developed musculature, and some even compete in body building competitions.

    Muscle dysmorphia may be one kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder. People with this problem cannot or will not stop their excessive exercise even when they are injured. If they abuse steroids in service of building bulk, they will not give up this unhealthy practice even when they fully understand the risks involved.

    * Treatment of muscle dysmorphia

    Many people with this problem resist getting treatment stating that they are content with the way they are. Some admit they are afraid that if they give up the drugs and exercise, they will wither away to frailty.

    Family members and concerned friends may be able to persuade the person to at least get an evaluation by focusing on the problems caused by the behaviors, such as job loss, relationship failure, and physical harm.

    Nonetheless, about half of people with this problem are so convinced of their perceived smallness that they refuse help and continue their excessive exercise and steroid use.

    For those who enter treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy combined with medication holds promise. The best place to start is an evaluation by a physician trained in sports medicine. Ask for a referral to a mental health counselor who also works with athletes. After both professionals have completed their evaluations, consider their recommendations and choose a course of action that is in your own best interests.



    I'm not looking to start a fight, I just want to have a mature conversation about this. Thank you.

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    I'm small, I'm only 245 with 4% bf (j/k).

    I think I would not fall under this category because it does not affect my job productivity, my personal life, or those close to me. I do feel like I do wanna get more shredded from time to time tough, but it's just the competitor in me, not a disorder.
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    I'd have to say that is definately a true disorder. When I was only 155lbs. it somewhat effected me at times. It also effected me to go balls to the walls since then and get it done right so I could get on the right track. Right now, its pretty much non-existant. I have a lot of support from most of my friends that train now, but also have other friends that first thought I was weird as hell always bringing my meals everwhere I go. They now see how far I have come in such little time and they're asking me for tips, etc. I think that its just a part of it all at least at first until you are proud of what you have become. Every day it just gets easier and easier to do what you have to do, and makes it more of a regular lifestyle IMHO.
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    It is a "disorder" of sorts, but like IW said... unless it is causing problems in the rest of your life, it shouldn't worry you. I've got this disorder... I'm currently dieting down, and I'll be under 200 lbs for the first time in at least 8 years..... I'm kinda scared, and I can't wait to start adding the muscle mass back when I'm done dieting down.

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    i wholeheartedly believe that it is real, ive gained 40 pounds in 2 years and train and eat and reasearch with more dedication than most, but i still feel like nothing, and its worse when im at the gym.
    also, i feel completely different about myself than i did 2 years ago. Luckily i have a supportive g/f who always tells me how much i am growing.
    basically i am scared that i will always feel frail and stuck inside this shell forever. its not always on the forefront of my mind though, if im wearing a sweatshirt, its all good!

    btw, im 20, currently 155ish 5'8''
    ill get there ill guess.
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    For the past few months, my wife will see me looking in the mirror & I've said things like "I wish my arms were bigger", or "I need to lose some fat". She keeps telling me I must have a disorder. Last week, she started looking on the web & printed out almost the exact same description of this disorder as your post.

    I don't think I have it; I'm dedicated, not obsessed. I am 215 lb at 6', about 10% BF. I know I'm not small, but obviously not huge. I think every bodybuilder sounds like that description to a non-bodybuilder. How many of us can say that ours arms are big enough? People misconstrue our lifestyles when they don't understand it. We are considered wierd for skipping cake at b-day parties, passing on free pizza at office parties for a cold chicken breast, or choosing vacation spots based on gym facilities. Anyone who doesn't live it, will think soemthing must be wrong with those who live like this.

    I believe this disease is real, but I imagine you'd have to be over-the-top obsessed to be said to have it. There's a fine line between dedication & obsession.
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    Longdog, I do agree with you. I think the line of crossing over into MD Disorder is when it begins to enterfere with your life and that of the people around you.

    EVERYONE, has something they wish they could change about their body, it's when you obsess about it day in and day out. This usually leads to extreme measures to achieve the desired results, but it is never enough.

    People with the disorder think, "if only i was a little bit bigger then i would be satisfied"....no matter how big they get, the satisfaction never comes.

    Thanks for the input everyone!!! Keep it coming!

    Also, I find that most people stop treatment because they claim that the psychologist doesn't understand their problem because they have never experienced the disorder.
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    Yea, I would say the disorder is real. Society as a whole does not help but I dont think that is the problem. The workplace is a major area of concern for me because I'm referred to as a "big guy", alot of people ask me for tips and also reference me as the big dude over in products. This puts huge pressure on me to stay above a certain size and Im never big enough to call myself "big". When I had my neck injury and couldnt train I wore big shirts or sweatshirts to cover that I had shrunken down alot. So you might want to put somewhere in your project that it can be caused by local environmental factors as well as society's ideal man or woman. I dont think I have the disorder but I do make life arraingements for bodybuilding and, I not only have the internal desire to keep going, I feel the outside pressure to meet expectations as well.
    Don't know if this helps but good luck. It sounds like an interesting project.
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    Fly-
    I would definitely like to read your final draft of the project, if its small enough to be posted.
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    The paper is like 20 pages so far. It's mostly on body dysmorphic disorder which includes Bulimia, Anorexia, and Muscle Dysmorphia.

    I'll try to post a segment for ya about MD.
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    It is definitely real. I had my Ex-GF buy me the Adonis Complex to make sure if I had it. I will definitly say that i have it. I have gotten better and a lot less anal, it is still there. I love the bodybuilding lifestyle because it has the changed me for the better and will always be a part of me. I still feel like i look like a bitch, even though my friends say i look good for an 18 year old, which makes me feel better I guess. I know I am not small (215), but I FEEL small and weaker for my stats.i sort of reversed diseases. Four years ago i was obsessed with losing weight no matter how (lack of eating, LOTS of cardio, Late nite jogging in a garbage bag, etc.). Now I just wanna blow up. Kind of Ironic huh?
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    thats how i feel, i was the kid who had to make 103 lbs for wrestling and was cutting 20 pounds for every meet...
    now i gotta eat as much as i can!
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    When I was younger I used to freak out and get really depressed if I missed a workout, couldn't look in the mirror, thought I was shrinking, but as I've gotten older and the weight of life bears down, I've got more important things to freak out about.
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    It's a matter of degree.............

    Somewhere there is a line for all of us. To the extent we lift to get stronger, improve ourselves, be more muscular, and feel better and younger, it's healthy even if there is a degree of obsession about it. In the eyes of others who do not train, we probably seem obsessed, and appear to take things too far.

    Provided anyone in question retains a healthy balance of family, friendships and work, the obsession is a good thing. Which is not to say that friends and work may not change as a result of the hobby.

    Many newbies with high aspirations have made the mistake of a radical lifestyle change, immersing themselves at the expense of other areas in life. Once they learn to balance their lives, they find they can continue to lift and remain dedicated.

    People who have addictive/compulsive personalities might not be able to achieve balance. But I think most of us can.
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    Originally posted by FLY


    and exercise compulsively.
    It was Me until This:
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    When I was younger I used to freak out and get really depressed if I missed a workout, couldn't look in the mirror, thought I was shrinking, but as I've gotten older and the weight of life bears down, I've got more important things to freak out about.
    Couldnt have said it better...I think that most of us have this to some degree. Im always judging myself, thinking im shrinking if I miss a workout, etc. But I know that Ill be bb'ing for the rest of my life, so I wil always progress at varying degrees of intensity. Depending on how much #$!# life is throwing at me and how much time I have to dedicate to training.

    BigV
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    Amen Big V!

    ManBeast
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    I have this disorder, but it doesn't really intefere with my life.
  

  
 

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