Last reviewed by: Aleksey Portnov , medical expert, on 25.06.2018

A fairly large number of people actively engaged in bodybuilding, suffer from such pathology as biorexia. Although few of them even know about the existence of such a disease. Indeed, this term is not widely known to anyone: bigorexia means a kind of mental disorder, when a person experiences discontent with his body, constantly discovers any shortcomings in him. This may be an insufficient relief and volume of muscles, insufficiently beautiful and inflated extremities, etc. To "fix" the situation, people suffering from biorexia practically "live" in the gym, bringing their body to imaginary perfection.


Bigorexia is more common in adolescents and young adults aged 18-24 years, mostly in men. Among those who are engaged in bodybuilding, biogorexics occur in about 8-12% of cases.

Causes of the biogorexia

Most experts agree that biorexia is a mental disorder that has biological roots. When examining patients with biorexia, a significant deficiency of serotonin, a mediator of nerve cells, as well as dopamine and γ-aminobutyric acid-that is, the so-called pleasure hormones-was detected. It can be assumed that their inadequate synthesis predisposes to the development of biorexia.

In addition, a mental disorder - dissatisfaction with one's body - is often diagnosed in persons suffering from obsessive compulsive disorders, which are manifested by obsessive acts and rituals. Experts suspect that patients with biogorexia have failures in perception and evaluation of information received from the visual organs.

However, specialists can not precisely formulate the pathogenesis of this disorder. Bigorexia is considered a psychological problem, which is determined by the distorted self-esteem of a person when in his view his own body is far from ideal. And, although patients with biogorexia, as a rule, have enough pumped muscles, their quality and relief do not satisfy the owner - biorexics see in their body a lot of shortcomings, and constantly strive for external improvement.

Patients with biogorexia, in the overwhelming majority of cases, deny having a mental pathology. Some of them recognize their imperfection, comparing their muscles, and the state of muscle mass in other athletes and bodybuilders.

Risk factors

It is likely that bigorexia is pawned even in childhood - for example, if the child is mocked by others. At a time when the baby is laying the personal self-esteem, ridicule can play a decisive negative role, which, one way or another, will affect the further adult life.

Bigorexia is a mental disorder that is often diagnosed in people who are unsure of themselves, with hypertrophied sensitivity, with broken self-criticism, with a tendency to "self-digestion." Bigoreksiki sincerely consider their body ugly: they are sure that their imaginary external flaws are too noticeable for others.

In addition to general ridicule, the distortion of perception of their appearance is influenced by the excessive attention of relatives - first of all parents - to the aesthetic side of the beauty of the human body. Close people of the child can unconsciously focus on any of its external shortcomings, indirectly developing a complex inferiority in the child. Not the least role is played by television and glossy magazines that promote the cult of the "ideal body."

Less often, biorexia can be one of the symptoms of another, a basic mental disorder - for example, schizophrenia, eating disorders, etc.

Symptoms of the biogorexia

Of course, if a person regularly attends classes in bodybuilding, this does not mean that he should immediately be reckoned among the patients with biogorexia. According to statistics, only about 10% of bodybuilders have clear symptoms of this pathology. To distinguish these people from healthy athletes, you need to pay attention to the main signs of the disease:

  • a sign of the mirror - the patient looks too often in the mirror, examining himself and determining the "next" flaw;
  • a sign of photography (not available at all) - the patient does not like to be photographed;
  • a sign of external observation - the patient often asks close people about his appearance;
  • presence of problems with friendly and personal relationships;
  • understated self-esteem, lack of self-esteem.

First signs

On what grounds can you distinguish a person suffering from biorexia?

  • Bigoreksik always dissatisfied with his body. He even tries to dress appropriately, not emphasizing his figure, but, on the contrary, hiding it.
  • Classes in the gym for biorexic - holy. He may not go to work, skip a date, but training is always in the foreground. Moreover, most conversations and thoughts in biogorexics are connected with training.
  • A person suffering from biorexia, carefully monitors nutrition, takes supplements to build muscle, does not neglect steroid drugs and stimulants.
  • The fear of losing muscle mass in biorexia - above other fears. The more muscle sizes in bigorexic, the better.
  • A person with bigorexia does not have free time - he spends it in the gym, even if he has a sore throat, or his head hurts.
  • If bigoreksik still misses the occupation, then after a long time he suffers from a sense of guilt for his own imperfection - there is irritability and even aggression.


The course of biogorexia can be conditionally divided into three stages:

  1. A single manifestation of the disease, which lasts for several weeks, months or years.
  2. The appearance of a recurrent course, with periods of complete stagnation of symptoms.
  3. Continuous syndrome, with periodic increase and worsening of symptoms of biorexia.


Medicine knows three kinds of obsession with one's own body. All three types refer to mental disorders:

  • Bigorexia (muscular dysmorphia) - characterized by excessive training in gyms and gyms.
  • Anorexia nervosa - is a deliberate refusal of food for weight loss.
  • Bulimia nervosa - is characterized by the regular absorption of a large amount of food with subsequent disposal of the eaten by inducing vomiting or taking laxatives and diuretics.

Complications and consequences

Special food and exhausting exercises on the simulators sooner or later lead to visible disturbances of the psyche. A patient with biorexia becomes a slave who serves the cult of his body. The logical consequence of bigorexia is growing self-doubt, lack of realization, depressive states, conflict, gradual departure from social life.

Regular reception of steroid and other similar drugs can adversely affect the health status - some people develop impotence, there is an oncology. As a result of constant stress and steroids, the cardiovascular system suffers.

There are cases when young people ended their lives with suicide because of discontent with their appearance.

Diagnostics of the biogorexia

The biorexia diagnosis is made by a doctor-psychiatrist or psychotherapist, based on information received from the patient himself, his surroundings, and also on the basis of clinical signs of the disease.

Analyzes are generally not required. However, in some cases, when there are suspicions of a violation of the hormonal background in the patient's body, the doctor can prescribe such laboratory tests:

  • evaluation of progestogen activity - analyzes for prolactin and progesterone;
  • evaluation of the process of aromatization in the body - a blood test for estrogen;
  • evaluation of androgenic activity - a blood test for dihydrotestosterone;
  • analyzes for the content of LH and FSH.

Instrumental diagnostics in bihorrexia, as a rule, is not informative.

Differential diagnosis

Differential diagnosis of biorexia is conducted with other obsessive-compulsive disorders (neuroses, personality disorders), as well as with schizophrenia.

Who to contact?

Treatment of the biogorexia

Treatment of the disease is always carried out in a complex. These are mandatory sessions of psychotherapy, with auxiliary medication.

Psychotherapy with biorexia, as a rule, is long - the course lasts no less than six months. The main therapeutic methods are such psychotherapeutic techniques:

  • exposure with the prevention of reactions;
  • cognitive restructuring to establish control over thoughts;
  • imaginary views with listening to audio recordings with the stories of other patients.

A patient with biogorexia is given the opportunity to feel the influence of individual situations. This approach helps to significantly reduce the breadth and number of obsessions.

Another successful technique is to set up patients to respond to their own inadequate thoughts. The fact is that the main degree of stress is not provoked directly by sensations or convictions, but by unsuccessful attempts to overcome them.

With the help of these methods, patients establish control over personal invented problems that are associated with their own body, while getting rid of obsessive conditions, self-flagellation and low self-esteem.

At the fixing stage of treatment the doctor can resort to the help of hypnosis. During the session the patient is immersed in a peculiar state, in which his consciousness is narrowed, with the introduction of the necessary "right" settings. In addition, the patient is taught a lesson in self-hypnosis, auto-training: thus, the patient can independently fix the results that were obtained during the treatment course.


In severe cases of bihorrexia therapy is prescribed by psychotropic drugs - antidepressants. Clomipramine, an antidepressant with psychostimulant, sedative and timoleptic capacity, is particularly effective in this category.

Proven efficacy in bi -orexia is also possessed by agents representing a number of selective inhibitors of reversible seizure of serotonin. These drugs include Fluoxetine, Sertraline, Escitalopram. No less successfully used Mirtazapine - an antidepressant, belonging to a number of serotonergic drugs.

Dosing and Administration

Side effects

Precautionary measures


Take inside 25-50 mg 2-3 times a day.

Dizziness, fatigue, trembling in the hands, a change in taste, pain in the head.

Clomipramine should not be taken concomitantly with steroids.


Take in individual dosages starting at 20 mg / day.

Irritability, sleep disturbances, headaches, diarrhea.

During treatment should be excluded from drinking alcohol.


Standard appoint 10 mg of the drug once a day, with the possible increase in dosage.

Drowsiness, pain in the head, nausea, sweating, alteration of accommodation, rhinitis.

You can not abruptly cancel the drug - it is done gradually under the supervision of a doctor.


Standard take 15-30 mg daily before bedtime.

Increased appetite, drowsiness, dizziness, swelling.

Mirtazapine is incompatible with alcohol.


To prevent the damaging effect of biorexia on the nervous system, it is sometimes not enough to take pills. It is important to eat a full and varied diet, as well as take certain vitamin complexes that will strengthen the body and strengthen the resistance to the disease.

  • Magnum is a drug combining in its composition the most important substances for the biogrexia patient - magnesium and vitamin B 6. Magnum provides a normal sleep, soothes and alleviates the symptoms of the disease.
  • Milgamma is a complex agent for injectable intramuscular injection. The drug contains the entire necessary list of B vitamins.
  • Trigamma is a drug equivalent to the previous agent.
  • Vitabalans multivit is a special complex of vitamins and minerals for stabilizing nerve conduction, calming the nervous system, restoring the body after stress.

Physiotherapeutic treatment

Physiotherapy is often used to prevent biorexia, but some techniques can be used to treat this problem. For example, definitely such procedures will benefit:

  • Warm baths with a water temperature of 35 to 37 ° C, lasting from 15 to 20 minutes, while simultaneously setting a cool compress on the forehead and temples.
  • Contrast shower up to three times a week, regular airing of the room, wiping and dousing with cool water with a temperature of 23 to 30 ° C (preferably - in the fresh air).
  • Swimming in open water (lake, river, sea), and in winter - in the pool.

Normalize the state of the nervous system in biorexia air and sunbathing, active outdoor recreation, walking in the fresh air, relaxing massage sessions.

Alternative treatment

Alternative ways can really help prevent further progression of the initial stages of biorexia. However, in spite of the fact that alternative methods exist, and they are effective enough, one should not postpone visiting a competent psychotherapist.

  • Take daily 150 grams of fresh carrots or 200 ml of carrot juice.
  • Pour 3 tbsp. L. Shallow straw 500 ml of boiling water, insist until cooling. Drink the received volume of the medicine during the day.
  • It is kept in the refrigerator for three hours with 100 ml of beet juice, 50 g of honey are added. Take during the day for three meals, half an hour before meals.
  • Drink kisel from Kalina 100 ml to six times a day, daily.

Herbal Treatment

  • Prepare an alcohol tincture from the roots of zamaniha (one part of the roots for 10 parts of alcohol). Take 35 drops to 3 times a day, before meals.
  • Prepare tea on the basis of mint leaves, drink 100-150 ml in the morning and at bedtime.
  • Prepare an infusion of 1 tbsp. L. Flowers asters and 200 ml boiling water. Take 1 tbsp. L. Up to 4 times a day.
  • Prepare the infusion based on ginseng (1 part of the plant for 10 parts of boiling water). Take 1 tsp. Daily, in the morning.
  • Take freshly prepared motherwort juice, 35 drops every 4 times a day, half an hour before meals.
  • Take a peony drug tincture of 35 drops three times a day, for a month.


Simultaneously with the traditional medicine used for bihererexia, psychotherapy, antidepressants and sedatives, homeopathy suggests the use of unique medications that do not cause addiction and side effects. Homeopathic remedies do not suppress biorexia, but normalize functional processes in the brain. Such drugs can indeed be effective, provided that the individual dosage is selected, which may depend on the severity of the symptoms and on the constitutional characteristics of the patient.

With bihorexia, most often used such means of homeopathy, in the dilution of 6-30:

  • Moskus;
  • Ignacy;
  • Pulsatilla;
  • Argentum nitrikum;
  • Nux Vomica;
  • Nux Moscat;
  • Platinum;
  • Kokkulyus;
  • Anacardium Orientale.

Reception of homeopathic preparations can be successfully combined with other methods of treatment. Such an integrated approach is always more effective and helps faster and better to cope with a problem such as biorexia.


Bigorexia should be treated already with the first symptoms appear. At the initial stages of development, methods such as psychotherapy, respiratory gymnastics, and self-training are considered effective. The use of surgical treatment (plastic surgery) is not recommended, as a violation of the psyche can not be cured by such a method, but one can root the habit of making surgical corrections into one's own body. The patient will still remain dissatisfied with himself.

Self-cure bigorexia is impossible: an appeal to a psychologist should be mandatory. Sometimes stationary therapy is prescribed - for example, if the patient is addicted to suicide, or during severe depression.


Unfortunately, a large number of athletes are close to the development of violations of the perception of their body. Therefore, at the first suspicions of similar problems it is necessary to address at once to the doctor-psychotherapist.

Taking care of the beauty of your body is, of course, very good. However, there is a subtle side that is easy to step over, bringing the matter to a fanatical self-improvement.

Photos of fitness models and handsome men from magazine covers really motivate many to succeed. However, one should not think that all people should be approached to artificially created standards.

  • Do not despise yourself, be proud of your achievements, adequately perceive the presence or absence of progress in the training process.
  • Remember that training should help to strengthen health and personalize the positive: improve your body for this, but not to achieve some imaginary ideal.
  • Do not disregard the opinions of friends and professionals - they can evaluate your efforts from the outside and conduct an adequate assessment of your efforts.


If the treatment was conducted in a timely and competent manner, then the prognosis can be considered favorable for the majority of patients. In some patients, repeated episodes of the disease may occur, since biogorexia often acquires a chronic course. If treatment is not carried out at all, the clinical signs of the problem persist.

It is important to know!

Many neuropsychiatric pathologies may be accompanied by a condition characterized by hypermobility and abnormal behavior that does not correspond to the situation. 

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