Bigorexia - Blame Charles Atlas

If you thought obsessing over one's body image was a largely female occupation, then think again. Bigorexia is both a big business and a big problem. Sometimes referred to as reverse anorexia, people suffering from bigorexia obsess over their muscle tone and dream of being Charles Atlas.

The medical term muscular dysmorphia was coined in 1997 to describe this new form of obsessive compulsive disorder. Most researchers seem to blame the media's own obsession with promoting infeasible standards of beauty coupled with an individual's own poor self-image. I think there is also a large element of drug addiction here - an addiction to the endorphins released during strenuous exercise. One study suggests abnormal serotonin levels, so such individuals find it difficult to chill out. Strangely, many sufferers of bigorexia also suffer from depression so that what started out as a way of looking good ends up as an obsession that one will never look good enough.

Building those bulging muscles is not very difficult to achieve - just look around the weights room of any gym. I was into it many years ago as an antidote to a sedentary lifestyle but soon realised that it had the potential to become addictive. I stopped. Those with bigorexia just can't.

The guy below has gone way past the body beautiful and heading towards Hulk territory. Next time you see a muscle-bound hunk think about whether they're really happy or not.

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