Vigorexia is not a concept recognized by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). However, the term is very common to denominate muscular dysmorphia, a disorder that is characterized by the obsessive preoccupation with the physical and the distortion of the body schema.
This emotional or nervous disorder, which is usually not recognized as a disease by doctors, is more common in men than in women. Also known as the Adonis complex, vigorexia causes those who suffer from it to perceive their physical characteristics in a distorted way.
Specifically, people with this disorder appear thin and weak. Thus, they perform all kinds of actions to achieve the desired muscles. Among the causes that lead a person to be affected by this problem are fundamentally the fact that they have an obsessive personality, especially with themselves, in addition to suffering from various emotional problems in personal or professional relationships. All this without forgetting that, on other occasions, the reasons that lead someone to suffer from vigorexia are physiological problems. Specifically, it is thought to be caused by what would be various affects on the Central Nervous System. Among the main symptoms that indicate that someone has this disorder are low self-esteem, those who continually weigh themselves, those who self-medicate, those who manifest an absolute obsession with the cult of the body, those who have a disproportionate body, those who have a vision completely distorted from their physical state or who begin to isolate themselves on the social plane. Vigorexics feel that they lack muscle and tone; therefore, they are obsessed with performing physical exercises that allow them to improve their body appearance. These exercises are performed compulsively until the body loses its normal proportions. In many cases, physical exercises are complemented with the consumption of steroids or anabolic steroids that help to increase muscle mass. In this way, vigorexia becomes even more dangerous, as the abusive use of this type of substance increases the risk of prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction and other diseases. Compulsive physical activity and consumption of anabolic steroids are also often associated with unbalanced diets, with the consumption of foods with a large amount of protein and carbohydrates, which can cause metabolic changes. Many and serious are the negative consequences that the person suffering from anorexia can experience, not only due to excessive sports, but also due to poor diet and abuse of anabolic steroids. However, among all of them, fluid retention, the appearance of acne and heart problems stand out.
It should also be added that women who suffer from this disorder may experience alteration in their menstrual cycle, while men may experience testicular atrophy or reduced sperm levels. It is believed that four out of 10,000 people suffer from vigorexia, with those with low self-esteem and a tendency to addictive behaviors being more prone. The treatment of vigorexia is mainly psychological for the person to overcome the fear of failure and improve their self-esteem.