Body Dysmorphic Disorder Men

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Men Explained

Popular portrayals of body dysmorphia disorder give an impression that this illness is mostly found among women. There are few movies or televised dramas dealing with situations in which men have body dysmorphia, but in reality men are just as likely to suffer from this condition and the symptoms are just as devastating. Let's learn about body dysmorphic disorder men.

The failure to recognize is more than just a mistake or media trope. It discourages men from receiving treatment and improving their overall life condition.

Symptoms Of Body Dysmorphic Disorder In Men

The most common symptom of male body dysmorphia is a misconception of the body. Men with body dysmorphic disorder often believe they are smaller, weaker, and shorter than they actually are. This false belief about their size often leads them to think of themselves in inappropriate terms.

As the disorder progresses, the body image of a man can suffer greatly until it leads him to think of himself as a less valuable being. This may lead the man to pursue steroids or excessive exercise as a way of creating the body image he wants for himself.

The Causes Of Male Body Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphic disorder can have a number of causes. The traditional image of masculinity is a man who is strong, tall, and well endowed sexually. These ideals are reinforced in American culture through popular media and sports to such an extent that many men hold unnecessarily high expectations of themselves.

They naturally are not able to meet these standards and the end result is the development of asymmetry between their perception of their bodies and their actual bodies.

Genetics and family values likely play a role in the development of body dysmorphic disorder in men as well. Some men are naturally prone to greater feelings of anxiety or self-doubt. This might lead these men to develop poor body image or make them more sensitive to messages commonly seen in the media.

Family expectations about performance in sports or to maintain a specific body type can lead men to have an ideal about themselves they simply can't live up to.

Differences Between Male And Female Patients

Females with body dysmorphic disorder are most often concerned with their weight. Men with body dysmorphic disorder are also frequently concerned with their weight, but there is a greater emphasis focused on muscularity and height. There is a connection between self-esteem and body size in men with larger men typically holding greater self-images than men of smaller size.

Men and women have different coping mechanisms for their diseases as well. Women with body dysmorphic disorder might binge and purge as a solution to their body image issues, but men may decide to abuse steroids to obtain a larger body.

Comorbidity Of Other Disorders

Body dysmorphic disorder is seldom an isolated condition. Men with body dysmorphia often suffer from depression, anxiety disorder, and other psychological conditions. The presence of these other disorders often produces a feedback loop that promotes both disorders together.

An example of this positive feedback occurs when a man with anxiety disorder notices he's gained fat or appears shorter than other men. That man might develop a negative body image and respond by taking steroids to develop the body he wants.

Treatment Of Body Dysmorphia In Men

Treatment for body dysmorphic disorder men: men almost always revolves around trying to find ways to convince patients to accept themselves as they are. There simply aren't any healthy ways for men to alter their body in significant ways. Men can't make themselves taller, increase their penis size, or produce absurd amounts of muscle and trying to do so can be damaging both physically and psychologically.

Therapy focused on helping men accept themselves the way they are is absolutely paramount to the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder in men.

Some psychiatrists may prescribe antidepressants or other drugs to reduce many of the common symptoms seen in body dysmorphia patients, but treatment will generally focus on modifying behavior rather than trying to adjust brain chemistry in any significant way.

How Common Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder In Men?

Body dysmorphic disorder men: Popular portrayals would suggest that body dysmorphic disorder is rare in men, but it is as common in men as it is in women. Exceptionally high rates of body dysmorphia are found among young men involved in sports and gym participation. These young athletes are the most likely to receive messages about the importance of body size and strength.

Middle aged men may also experience negative body images and think negatively of the way they are aging. In fact, it is believed that one of every ten males with gym membership may have body dysmorphic disorder.

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Last Reviewed:
July 12, 2017
Last Updated:
October 18, 2017
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