MANLY ISSUES: MUSCLE DYSMORPHIA & MALE BODY IMAGE

22 Oct

Dr. Stuart Murray:  “I’m an academic clinical psychologist. I have a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology, and I’ve just handed in my Ph.D., which is mostly a collection of my published work on the diagnosis and treatment of what we call Muscle Dysmorphia.”

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SUMMARY

Q) What is Muscle Dysmorphia (MD)

A) A total preoccupation with not appearing muscular enough. This includes behaviors that focus around building muscle but also getting lean, as leanness enhances the appearance of muscularity.

Q) How do you know if someone has (MD)

A) If you’ve got MD, you train compulsively. I mean, we all train a bit beaten up from time to time, but these guys will take it to extremes. One patient I treated was benching with a broken wrist and a torn rotator cuff. His anxiety at missing training was greater than the pain of benching. If you do miss a day of training, you worry that you’re going to lose size in that day off and usually endure it with fairly intense anxiety.

Q) Does the media play a role in this?

A) Absolutely. To make matters worse, there are now all these bizarre sites where bodybuilding physiques are photoshopped into cartoon caricatures that would be 400-500 pound guys in real life. Most likely see this as fiction, but you have to be concerned about some of the more impressionable kids just starting out.

Q) What about someone that takes their training very seriously?

A) What might make something like this a pathology is, a) a pervasive sense of shame that you’re not big enough, and b) a significant impairment to the rest of your life, where you miss out on all the things you’d like to do because you can’t not train.

Q) What about Anabolic Steroids 

A) Some studies have found 100% of MD patients use anabolics and other performance enhancing drugs. I’ve found it to be less than 100%, but certainly very high.

“Anyone who wants to talk about this can contact me anonymously at muscledysmorphiaclinic@gmail.com

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