In addition, to media images that bombard men there are also biological factors that influence the development of BDD in men.
According to an article entitled "Bigger Isn't Always Better - muscle dysmorphia in men" the most severe cases of muscle dysmorphia involve a biological predisposition for the disease (Bartlett 2001). The author explains that from a biological standpoint the man suffering with the disease has a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (Bartlett 2001). For instance someone who washes his hands 10 times per day is normal, however washing your hands one hundred times per day to the point that it hampers with the rest of your life is a symptom of a greater problem (Bartlett 2001). According to the article this example is used to illustrate "there isn't anything pathological about going to the gym regularly or dieting," but there is a problem when "a huge number of boys and men work out beyond a normal range so that it becomes a source of distress" and affects all areas of their lives (Bartlett 2001)."
Treatments for BDD in Men
People with BDD are treated in many ways. The most common treatment for men involves surgical, dermatological and other types of non-psychiatric treatment (Phillips & Castle 2001).
However, the research indicates that such treatments are usually not effective (Phillips & Castle 2001). In addition, many male patients are so dissatisfied with the results that they experience severe depression, become suicidal, become violent towards the doctors or sue the doctors (Phillips & Castle 2001).
It has been suggested that educating patients about the disorder combined with psychiatric treatment is the only way to reduce the symptoms of the disorder..
Hong (2000) asserts there are differing opinions about the treatment that can be used for muscular dysmorphia. For instance, Eric Hollander, M.D. Of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine posits that the use of the drug Clomipramine can be beneficial in the treatment of the disorder (Hong 2000). Clomipramine has the effect of increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which can alleviate the symptoms caused by the disorder (Hong 2000). An increase in Serotonin levels is essential because the chemical turns off the brain processes, which tell a person when there is an abnormality in the body (Hong 2000). When serotonin levels are low, these brain processes are not turned off, which results in skewed perceptions of self (Hong 2000). According to Hollander, Clomipramine can alleviates the symptoms and improve them by 25 to 35% (Hong 2000).
On the other hand, James Rosen, M.D., a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Vermont posits that therapy may be adequate enough treatment for many suffers of muscular dysmorphia (Hong 2000). According to the article this treatment would involve teaching the patients to understand when their feelings are unsubstantiated (Hong 2000). Rosen asserts that treatment for muscle dysmorphia would include eliminating the idea that the exercisers would lose control of themselves if they missed a workout (Hong 2000).
Finally, Fugen Neziroglu, senior clinical director of the Bio-Behavioral Institute of Great Neck, New York, posits that some combination of medication and psychological treatment is key to eliminating the symptoms of the disorder. The doctor asserts that "I don't feel behavioral therapy is sufficient, and certainly medications are not efficacious alone either (Hong 2000)."
Diagnosing BDD in Men
Most researchers agree that diagnosing BDD in women or men is difficult because suffers are often embarrassed to reveal their symptoms to doctors. This is especially true of men who tend to feel that such a weakness is a threat to their masculinity.
In terms of diagnosing BDD in men, Phillips & Castle (2001) assert that Men and boys are often reluctant to reveal their symptoms because of embarrassment and shame, and they typically do not recognise that their beliefs about their appearance are inaccurate and due to a psychiatric disorder. Physicians can diagnose body dysmorphic disorder in men with a few straightforward questions. These determine whether the man is concerned about and preoccupied with minimal or non-existent flaws in his appearance and whether this concern causes significant distress (depression, anxiety) or interferes with social, occupational, or other aspects of functioning (Phillips & Castle 2001)."
The purpose of this discussion was to focus on body dysmorphic disorder as it relates to men. We began our discussion by defining BDD. The research revealed that is a mental disorder found in both men and women, which is marked by obsession with an imagined imperfection in one's appearance. We also found that the disorder is sometimes seen as a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The discussion then focused on muscle dysmorphia, the factors that contribute to the development of body dysmorphic disorder in men and the treatment of the disorder. We found that muscle dysmorphia is a form of BDD that tends to effect men. The research revealed that muscle dysmorphia is an obsession with the size of ones muscles and can lead to repetitive exercise depression, suicide and the abuse of anabolic steroids.
The research then focused on the causes of BDD in men, which were found to be the influence of the media with the "ideal body image" and biological disposition. We also discussed treatment of the disease, which can involve the use of the drug Clomipramine and/or therapy. Lastly, we found that diagnosing the disorder in men is difficult because many do not wan to divulge the symptoms they may be experiencing.
Bartlett J. (2001) Bigger Isn't Always Better - muscle dysmorphia in men
American Fitness. Retrieved July 8, 2005 from; http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0675/is_1_19/ai_69651755
First Controlled Study of Muscle Dysmorphia Published, 2005. Retrieved July 8, 2005 from; http://www.driesen.com/muscle_dysmorphia.htm
Grieve F.G., Lorenzen L.A., Thomas a. (2004) Exposure to Muscular Male Models Decreases Men's Body Satisfaction.Sex Roles: A Journal of Research. Volume: 51: 743+.
Hong Q. (2000). Over-Workout. Retrieved July 8, 2005 from; http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~issues/fall00/Quang.html
Pedersen W., Wichstrom, L. (2001) Use of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids in Adolescence: Winning, Looking Good or Being Bad?. Journal of Studies on Alcohol. Volume: 62 (1) Pg: 5.
Phillips K., Castle D. (2001). Body dysmorphic disorder in men. Retrieved July 8,…