When big isn’t better

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A RECENT Australian study has identified a new kind of body dysmorphia in men, where even well built men think they are puny and not surprisingly they named it Bigorexia.

If you’ve been anywhere around the beaches of bars of Benidorm over the last few weeks, you can’t fail to have come across large groups of guys on stag weekends, wandering the streets, sitting in the beach bars, shirts off, shorts on, soaking up the sun and the beer.

One strikingly different look has been apparent on these guys in the last year or so and it’s not the fact they mostly all have beards, it’s the size of them.

Not size, as in fat, I mean size as in huge, big, muscle torsoed, even in men of smaller stature and physique.

Many of these guys, even though they probably imagine they look good, actually look rather odd and unnatural.

Steroid use by men is at an epedimic stage throughout the World, helping to make men look bigger, but causing all kinds of side effects, including lack of virility,anger management issues and depression.

Ignoring the odd sounding name, Bigorexia is a phenomenon that is becoming more prominent.

It is essentially an inverted, male form of anorexia, where rather than perceiving themselves as fat and attempting to exert control by starving themselves slim, researchers pinpointed a significant number of young men who despite looking completely normal see themselves as being puny, and resort to excessive weight-training, overly-controlled diets and steroid use to compensate.

Men with this condition are four times less likely to be diagnosed than their female counterparts – presumably because we are now well attuned to the warning signs of eating disorders in young women, but would regard a massively gym-built man as just being fit and healthy.

The study found extreme dieting and purging (either vomiting, or using laxatives, diuretics and fat-burners) increasing more rapidly among men than women, while needle exchanges reported a significant uptick in the number of patients referring for steroid use, rather than heroin.

On the steroid issue alone, recent studies suggest that 17% of gym goers are estimated to be using amphetamines to lose weight, with the same figure using thyroid hormones, 15% taking diuretics, 60,000 people in the UK taking anabolic steroids and steroid users starting younger and continuing for longer than previously.

Even amongst Spanish men, the need to look bigger is driving them to steroid abuse. Just look at the smaller men in the gym with tiny ankles, and wrists, but huge pecs, arms and shoulders, that is a sure sign of anabolic use.

Scott Griffiths, author of the report conducted by Sydney University issued a stark warning,
“Steroid abuse is rife anywhere you go and now at the point now where the perception of the norm has changed. It’s like women with plastic surgery, where what you think is real actually isn’t, but you’ve stopped noticing.”, he said.

Pointing out that, “It’s definitely gone below the radar because with issues such as bulimia and anorexia the focus is always on fat. For men it is about their muscularity. They are taking steroids, laxatives and diuretics but we don’t see them as eating disorder behaviours.”

While men looking after themselves physically is to be applauded and sensible exercise has an important role in our mental well-being too, this is a problem we need to be alert for among ourselves and our friends because we are looking at a timebomb of health issues in later life.

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