- Mental Health
Bigorexia: What it is and how it Effects People
It seems as though people always want what they do not have. The type of body people have is no exception to this statement.
Everywhere we look, we are constantly surrounded by fit people and slim waistlines. Billboards, magazines, commercials, movies, and celebrities mold our thinking as to what an attractive body is supposed to look like. Some people are willing to do ANYTHING to get the body that they so desire, even if it means taking extreme and unhealthy measures.
Most of us have heard of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Both disorders affect mostly women. These eating disorders result from people thinking they are overweight when they are not, or when people are afraid to consume calories from certain sources (like carbs and fats for example) because they think that they will gain too much weight as a result. These affected people do not get proper nutrition, drop to an unhealthy body-weight, and become infatuated with the way they look to the point it effects their entire life.
What is Bigorexia?
So what exactly is Bigorexia? A lot of people have never heard of this type of body disillusion before. Like anorexia and bulimia, bigorexia is a misconception a person has about the appearance of their body. No matter how muscular a person gets, bigorexic people feel they are not big or muscular enough. Bigorexia is also called Muscle Dysmorphia and Reverse Anorexia Nervosa. People that have bigorexia become obsessed with the idea that they need to get bigger, even when they are above average in musculature. These people tend to think they are “too skinny” or “too small”[I]. Unlike anorexia and bulimia, this disorder affects mostly men.
Like any type of body disorder, bigorexia can leave a person feeling depressed or disgusted with oneself. Because this disillusion is usually connected to a constant comparing of unattainable goals, people that suffer from bigorexia often turn to steroids for results.
Turning to Steroids
Unlike those that dabble or try steroids, bigorexic individuals cycle multiple steroids year round. Because they do not feel big enough, as soon as they cycle off steroids and lose bloat and bulk, these bigorexic individuals feel the need to continue on steroids in order to feel good about themselves.
Steroids have numerous side effects. Among some side effects are: damage to the liver, the increase of cardiovascular disease, increased heart rate, the build-up of plague in the arteries, mood swings, anger, depression, acne, unhealthy build-up of estrogen (hormone that is prevalent in females. Becomes high in people taking steroids to counterbalance the overload of testosterone) unwanted body hair, and the shrinkage of the testicles, to name a few.
As you can tell, steroids by themselves are dangerous to one’s health. Taken year round is detrimental!
HGH and Insulin
Not only do bigorexic individuals use steroids, they are now using the injection of insulin and Human Growth Hormone (also called HGH) to fuel their muscle cells and get even bigger. For someone that already has a disillusion of themselves, the combination of HGH, insulin, and steroids can be a lethal game of a synthetic intoxication.
How they are using HGH
Human growth hormone is a prescription drug. It was originally created by scientist to treat children’s growth disorders and adults with growth hormone deficiency. When someone takes HGH, they are interjecting the active ingredient somatotroph that is naturally made in a person’s (and animals) pituitary gland. The somatotroph hormone regulates how big the cells within the body’s DNA will allow [II].
Think of a balloon. One can fill a balloon with only so much air before the balloon will “pop”. When the balloon is filled with air, the surface area begins to stretch under tension until it reaches maximum capacity. Once the intake of air stresses the surface area of the balloon to maximum capacity, the balloon will burst. At this point, the only way to get the balloon bigger (without it popping) would be to add more surface area to the balloon.
The same concept is true with a person’s muscles. Steroids allow the muscle bellies (balloon) to inflate to as large as a person’s predetermined DNA and frame will allow. With the injection of a synthetic somatotroph, this chemically changes a person’s DNA cells to grow beyond their natural regulated size the pituitary gland has set forth. This gives more surface area to the balloon and allows the body’s cells and organs to grow beyond what was genetically crafted for a person at birth.
Notice I said that somatotroph grows a person’s body cells and organs. Somatotroph unfortunately does not target solely the muscles. Whereas muscles are considered an organ, they are not the only organ that is growing in a HGH abuser’s body. Along with the muscles; the kidneys, liver, pancreas, intestines, heart, lungs, and bladder also grow in size.
HGH is the reason modern bodybuilders look fat when they loosen their core and relax their midsections.
How/Why they turn to Insulin
In case you do not already know, insulin is produced by the pancreas. It is used to regulate blood sugar levels by causing cells in the liver, muscles and fat tissue to take up glucose in the blood and turn it into glycogen. Once turned into glycogen, it is stored in the liver and muscles and then used as a body’s primary source of energy [III].
By taking injections of insulin, bigorexic individuals fuel the muscle cells with stored energy, thus “feeding” the muscles and allowing them to grow huge. What they do not realize is that taking insulin when you don't need it causes symptoms such as sweating, shaking, headache, irritability, nervousness, anxiety, weakness, dizziness, hunger, tremors, nausea, and difficulty concentrating or thinking [IV].
In long term, a person who repeatedly takes insulin without needing it subjects themselves to becoming a diabetic. This is simply a result of the body becoming accustomed to the added synthetic form of insulin, the body’s pancreas becomes inactive and stops producing its own insulin.
Bigorexia is a Mental Disease
Although people tend to think of the physical harm these disillusional complexes cause, it is important to realize that most of this disease originates from the person’s mental well-being. Just like alcoholics and drug abusers, these affected individuals do not wake up one day and say to themselves, I think I’m going to do something so drastic that the results may cost me my life.
These people have a mental illness. They are living in the moment without giving thought to the long term effects their actions are taking on their health. They do not see themselves how the rest of the world sees them. Even when they are gigantic, they still think they look small. Their illness effects not only themselves, but the people in their personal network of support.
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Bigorexic’s not only become depressed and anxious about their appearance, they often turn to illegal steroids, HGH, and insulin. Their entire day is spent around working out, taking supplements, vitamins, and eating their next meal. They spend hours in the gym and more time measuring their size and flexing in the mirror.
Problems can arise at work or school when their daily schedule conflicts with their “” regiment. Bigorexic’s spend thousands of dollars a year on gym memberships, supplements, steroids, HGH, insulin, and vitamins. getting HUGE
Finally, it is important to realize that not all bigorexic plagued individuals go to such extreme measure as listed above. Some simply do not have the finances to support their illness and other are not as extreme. Like any illness, there are different levels and people are all different.