Expert Profile Menu
Apply for your Expert Profile Page
Expert Articles
Advertise with us

useNature Magazine - the Weekly Column - Tips - Info's - Stories

< Previous Article


Next Article >

Article by Bruni Brewin


We don't often hear about men when they are suffering mental health issues, especially when it comes about having a body issue.  Must be one of those macho beliefs that a man should be aggressively proud of his masculinity and cannot ‘lose face’ in front of his mates or women.  The top definition stated that most macho men have the emotional range of a teaspoon and have enough empathy to fill the ink tube in a pen.  Furthermore, macho men find any contact with other males to be of ‘homosexual’ nature, with the exception of the ‘manly handshake’. [1]  (I had to smile when I read that - a stereotype if I ever heard one.)

Bigorexia is sometimes referred to as muscle dysmorphia or reverse anorexia.  It is a form of Compulsive Obsessive Disorder.  In this case not feeling good enough about their body or lack of muscles.  Like Anorexia is a distorted body image, so is Bigorexia. Most people when they hear the term obsessive-compulsive disorder, conjure up images of excessive hand washing or other bizarre daily rituals.  In this case the obsession becomes the body or more specifically, the level of muscularity and leanness.

People with this disorder feel great anxiety and distress.  Some of the symptoms are that they are constantly scrutinizing muscles in the mirror, weighing themselv several times a day, wear baggy clothing in public to keep others from seeing their body, feel great anxiety and distress when they miss a work out or deviate slightly from their strict diet.

Mostly the condition can remain hidden as the person normally looks quite well - it is the image in the mind that is out of whack.

100,000 people or more worldwide are said to meet the formal diagnostic criteria.  The concerns of not being good enough spark off the distress of trying to adjust this.  Society is setting up this problem with body image which is closely related to self-esteem and self-confidence, not because they are unattrative, but because society tells them they have to look better.

Athletes are particularly susceptible to developing body image disorders because of the pressures surrounding sport performance and societal trends promoting muscularity and leanness.  As athletic trainers, they work in venues in which strength, speed, size, and power are typically valued and encouraged.


As social influences change and encourage a more muscular physique, children at progressively younger ages are at increased risk for developing body image disorders.  In one study, adolescent boys were presented with various body types generated on a laptop computer.  Each was asked to select a body type based on 3 questions:

(1) What would you like your body to look like?  (2) What do you think the ideal male body should look like? And (3) What do you think others think your body looks like?  The subjects were presented with various body types and asked to select the one that most closely resembled their own. On the first 2 questions, the boys selected body types that were 30 to 40 pounds heavier than the reference image, whereas answers to the third question revealed that they perceived their bodies to be much thinner and weaker looking than they actually were. Some boys even asked if they could make the largest image bigger.

Treatment Options:

Currently no specific medical programs have been developed.  Antidepressant medications, alone or in combinations with cognitive behavioural therapy show promise.

As a rule of thumb, I have an upfront discussion with clients on how the mind works and how we take on symptoms from original causes.  In terms of Hypnotherapeutic intervention, as client centred hypnotherapy dictates, it would be the client that would have me determine the type of hypnosis tools and counselling that will form part of the session.  I would be looking at the clients history and negotiate to deal with any obvious negative happenings from the past.  I would possibly look at ‘parts therapy’ to discuss concerns with relevant parts and reframe these. I would give examples of past clients who had similar problems and their outcome.  An appropriate metaphor comes to mind.  EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) in the hypnosis trance state using the clients own words could be an option the client might choose (or any other therapies the client might choose that release the pent-up feelings and emotions they have come to deal with).



[3] Bruce Lipton - Great Keynote on Mind Over Matter

[4] Russian DNA Discoveries Explain Human 'Paranormal' Events
Summarized by Baerbel Edited and translated




19 Jul 2016

Article/Information supplied by Bruni Brewin

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.