Body Builders And Dysmorphia
If you have been to a gym or a fitness centre you may have noticed the people that are always there pumping iron, lifting weights and looking for ways to "bulk up" to achieve a highly muscled and ripped physique.
They may be men or women, but they are alike in their obsession with creating the perfect body and see their own bodies as small and weak.
Dysmorphia is a preoccupation or a misperception with one's own body. People with dysmorphia may have a muscular body but cannot see this in themselves. It is the opposite body image problem to those with anorexia who see themselves as too fat even when they are extremely thin.
In some literature, particularly in bodybuilding magazines, dysmorphia will be called reverse anorexia or even megarexia. It is more common in males, but it can occur in females as well. Most commonly this is associated with the bodybuilding world, but it also occurs in professional sports, such as American football, where size is seen as important to performance.
Individuals with dysmorphia, like those with anorexia, develop particular routines around food. They may be using food to bulk up, then exercising excessively to build muscles but not gain fat. They may take a significant number of nutritional supplements and spend hours researching supplements that are marketed to promote muscle growth.
They are also more likely to use anabolic steroids. Many people with body dysmorphia will purchase HGH and other types of products and self-inject, often well outside of the recommended dosage and using potentially dangerous supplement combinations.
It is not uncommon for these people to have great difficulty in holding a job or going to school. They become completely focused on achieving their desired body shape and size. Most of these individuals, because of the extreme diet, supplement and exercise routines have extremely limited social interactions with others, which further isolates them and allows them to focus on their perceived lack of muscle and strength.
There is some evidence that shows that body or muscle dysmorphia can be a coping mechanism, particularly for people who have been traumatized. It is also associated with low self-esteem, increased focus on media and body shape as well as those who may have been bullied or teased when younger as being weak or small.
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