Doctor Stefano Erzegovesi, psychiatrist and nutritionist, explains the symptoms and risks of an emerging disorder
Go out of your way to have muscles evident and defined, taking care of thePower supply in an excessive and unbalanced way, following hyperprotein diets to the extreme, doing sport to exaggerated levels and sometimes using anabolic steroids: are the faces of the vigorexia, “An emerging disorder on the border between eating disorders (such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) and body dysmorphic disorders, such as the one that affects those who continue to resort to cosmetic surgery thinking of improving their appearance”, explains a Official Active Dr. Stefano Erzegovesi, psychiatrist and nutritionist, head of the Eating Disorders Center of the San Raffaele Turro Hospital in Milan.
Vigoressia: what it is and what are the symptoms –
Unlike anorexia e bulimia, which mainly affect women, the vigorexia and especially male, although there is no shortage of cases of female vigor: “Unfortunately, it is one of those pathologies that rarely come to the doctor because the awareness of being sick is very low”, says Dr. Erzegovesi. “It used to be called reverse anorexia, the opposite of anorexia: instead of being a fixation for thinness, in fact, there is a fixation for a evident muscularity. Therefore, one must not simply eat little, but in a certain way and, at the same time, do a certain type of strenuous physical activity, sometimes accompanied by the use of substances such as anabolic steroids “. But the symptoms are also other: “Those who suffer from vigorexia usually do a lot sport but alone, and avoids showing himself in front of others, so even in the gym he covers himself a lot to hide his body, and in many cases he moves away from social and occupational life ”, adds Dr. Erzegovesi.
Vigoressia and orthorexia –
If vigorexia is also defined bigoressia (or obsession with looking big) but also reverse anorexia, the link with the orthoresis, or the exasperated attention to healthy eating: “Unlike orthorexia, in vigoressia the theme is much more linked to muscles. To date it is not yet a disorder with a certain classification, it is also called muscle dysmorphia because you see yourself with few muscles even when you have a lot of them. In general, food choices are not oriented on healthy foods, but on those that help muscle trophism. In many cases, use is also made of powders and supplements which increase muscle mass and definition. The main concern of sufferers vigorexia, in fact, it is to have a lean but muscular body and defined ”, explains Dr. Erzegovesi.
The risks –
In addition to sport practiced at exaggerated levels, the risks derive precisely from unbalanced diet and the possible use of anabolic substances: “A hyperprotein diet it can cause alterations in the liver and kidneys, due to overload of protein waste, but also increase cholesterol levels and lead to hypertension and behavioral changes, with greater irritability and aggression due to the use of anabolics “, adds the psychiatrist . “The major problem with vigoressia is precisely that in most cases it comes to the doctor, and not to the psychiatrist or psychotherapist, when the problem has reached serious levels, with consequences for the kidneys, liver or cardiovascular level. For this it would be useful that i personal trainer interacting with suspected cases of vigoressia directed these people towards healthier behaviors, ”suggests Dr. Erzegovesi.
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