VIGOREXIA: what is it, symptoms, causes, consequences and treatment

  • Sep 13, 2021
Vigorexia: what is it, symptoms, causes, consequences and treatment

Vigorexia is a psychological disorder characterized by a constant concern for body image, in which the person has an excessive concern with her body. The individual with this disorder seeks to increase his muscle mass at all costs. Do you know someone like that? Do you want to know what are the symptoms of vigorexia? In this Psychology-Online article, we are going to help you better understand what is vigorexia, its symptoms, its causes, consequences and treatments.

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  1. What is vigorexia?
  2. Symptoms of vigorexia
  3. Causes of vigorexia
  4. Consequences of vigorexia
  5. Treatments for vigorexia

What is vigorexia?

The vigorexia, also named after muscle dysmorphia, It is a altered body image that the individual develops towards his own body. It is more prevalent in young males, although there is also vigorexia in women. It is a psychological condition that encompasses health problems related to body image and dependence on physical exercise.

The person has a excessive and constant worrying about your body for not being muscular enough. In this way, an obsession develops to increase your muscle mass through physical exercises, diet and substance use. Such substances, many times, can be harmful to health, among them are products such as anabolics, hormones and food supplements.

Symptoms of vigorexia.

The symptoms of vigorexia are:

  • Obsession with the body
  • Constantly looking in the mirror
  • Look lean, even when muscular
  • Obsession in getting muscular
  • Prioritize exercises
  • Dedication to more hours of training
  • Compare your body to other people's bodies
  • Feeling sick when you miss a day of exercise
  • Feeling sick when you skip a meal
  • Frequently worrying about reaching your daily protein and carbohydrate intake goal
  • Abandonment of other activities
  • Neglecting other areas of your life, such as friends and family

Causes of vigorexia.

Many are the causes of a person who develops vigorexia. Generally, this disorder affects more young men than women. They are physically active individuals who develop vigorexia due to a social pressure for a perfect body. This obsession with the image of the ideal body is imposed by society itself.

To achieve an idealized body, people become addicted to gyms, they feel a need for muscle development to feel good and confident.

There are also cases of individuals who were overweight in the past and in an attempt to compensate for their previous bodily situation, they develop the disorder, becoming totally obsessed with their body.

Next, we will see how vigorexia can become a problem that affects people's health.

Vigorexia: what is it, symptoms, causes, consequences and treatment - Causes of vigorexia

Consequences of vigorexia.

What diseases does vigorexia cause? Among the consequences of vigorexia, due to the consumption of substances, to the exaggerated intake of proteins, exercise overload, among other behaviors of the disorder, we can find:

  • Metabolic disturbances
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Testicular atrophy
  • Acne
  • Liver injuries
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Cardiac hypertrophy
  • Fluid retention
  • Kidney disorders
  • Immune disorders
  • Mental and behavioral disorders
  • Increased aggressiveness
  • Affective disorders (anxiety, depression, hypomania)
  • Bone and joint problems

Treatments for vigorexia.

How should vigorexia be treated? Regarding the types of treatments for vigorexia, we can find psychotherapy, or, depending on the severity of the case, the use of medications.

Psychological therapy

The cognitive behavioral psychotherapy It is a treatment that is quite efficient and, when associated with the use of medication, it can be even more effective.

  • Psychotherapy is essential in the treatments of vigorexia, since it has the objective of work on controlling obsessive and recurring thoughts about the body and the feelings related to it. It is essential to explore the causes that produce the disorder in the individual cared for.
  • Another interesting fact is that, according to studies, individuals suffering from vigorexia avoid or present resistance to treatmentThis happens because they affirm that they are satisfied with their appearance and therefore do not need help. But it is very clear that these individuals suffer from an immense inability to value their own body, they have a permanent dissatisfaction despite all the effort they make.
  • Frequently, vigorexia is accompanied by other psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorders that also deserve attention when receiving treatment.

Drug therapy

In those cases, you can use medications to control obsessive-compulsive symptoms and also for the reduction of dysmorphic symptoms. In fact, treatment can help in a possible coexisting depression. But it is important to note that not all cases are necessary the use of drugs.

Before concluding the article, it is worth commenting that an individual who enjoys doing physical exercise does not necessarily suffer from that obsession, we cannot forget that the practice of exercise in addition to doing good to health, is addictive, because when we exercise our body releases known chemical substances What endorphins, which are responsible for making us feel good about ourselves while and after our training routine.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to Vigorexia: what is it, symptoms, causes, consequences and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Clinical psychology.


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2014). Diagnostic and statistic manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Porto Alegre: Artmed.
  • De la Serna I. (2008). Food and its perversions. Anorexia, vigorexia, bulimia and obesity. Barcelona: Edika Med.
  • Pérez V., Valencia M., Rodríguez M. (2007). About a case of muscle dysmorphia and steroid abuse. Rev Col Psiq.154-64.

Vigorexia: what is it, symptoms, causes, consequences and treatment

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