Do you know the term bigorexia ?
Bigorexia is a disease recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 2011, but is still little known in France. It can affect high-level athletes as well as amateur sportsmen, who have become dependent following excessive sports practice.
Several hypotheses have been made to explain what leads to this addiction to sport. First hypothesis, the role of hormones. Endorphins are produced during sports activity. These hormones are released by the brain during and especially after intense physical activity. They stimulate the pleasure circuit (known as dopaminergic), which explains the feeling of well-being in people practicing a sport and would cause addiction. Second hypothesis, bigorexia would have a more psychological origin. For some, sports practice relieves stress, anxiety or pain related to an event. Over time, this habit becomes indispensable and turns into an addiction. Third hypothesis, bigorexia could be linked to the Adonis complex. Intensive practice is then a way to achieve a "perfect" body and increase self-esteem. Shaping your body, reaching a perfect weight, building excessive muscle become obsessions. The practice then turns to addiction.
Symptoms and Dangers.
Unlike other addictions, bigorexia does not necessarily manifest physiologically. For example, the evolution of the weight curve is not necessarily alarming . Moreover, it is not necessarily the time spent playing sports that is indicative of bigorexia, but rather the repercussions on private or professional life. This disease can be recognized with different symptoms:
Obsessive behavior around sports.
People with bigorexia devote more and more time to physical activity, abandoning their personal and professional lives. Sport becomes the priority and leads to social isolation.
An obsession for his body.
People then develop an obsession for their physique, their performance; which leads to a sacrifice of everything for the benefit of sport.
Signs of lack when stopping sporting activity.
People show withdrawal symptoms when they are deprived of sporting activity (in the event of an injury, for example): sadness, irritability, guilt, etc.
To no longer listen to your body.
Addiction causes athletes to push their limits, always further, which can cause exhaustion and sometimes serious injuries (fatigue fractures, muscle injuries, etc.).
Our advice to fight against bigorexia.
Becoming aware of the phenomenon, getting informed, is a bit like protecting yourself or taking a step towards healing. Don't hesitate to talk about it. Like any addiction, bigorexia can be treated with targeted therapeutic support from a psychologist, specialist doctor and/or addictologist. The goal will not be to completely stop the activity but to learn to find pleasure and restore freedom of choice in practice.
Sport should be fun. Do not become a constraint.
Never lose sight of why you started exercising. Keep that fun. Listen to your body and find moments of pleasure in your exercise routine. This is also why we created Elemat .