Muscle Dysmorphia: An Overview of Clinical Features and Treatment Options

Muscle Dysmorphia : An Overview of Clinical Features and Treatment Options / Mitchell L. Cunningham, Scott Griffiths, Deborah Mitchison, Jonathan M. Mond, David Castle, Stuart B. Murray. - (Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy 31 (2017) 4; p. 255-271)

  • PMID: 32755900
  • DOI: 10.1891/0889-8391.31.4.255


An increasing public and empirical focus on male body image indicates that muscularity is a preeminent concern among boys and men. For some, these concerns develop into a complex and disabling psychiatric disorder termed muscle dysmorphia (MD), the hallmark of which is an intense preoccupation regarding one's (subjectively) insufficient muscularity. Treatment of MD is critical; however, evidence to inform treatment approaches is sorely lacking. The purpose of this article is twofold. First, we provide an overview of the clinical features of MD, drawing particular attention to the preoccupation, functional impairment and psychiatric comorbidity associated with the disorder. Second, we discuss and recommend potential treatment directions for MD, including techniques that have demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of related disorders, namely, body dysmorphic disorder and eating disorders (and anorexia nervosa in particular). Psychotherapeutic techniques, including cognitive restructuring of deleterious perfectionistic and egosyntonic beliefs, and dialectical behavioral techniques to improve the repertoire of emotion regulation skills available to afflicted individuals, are discussed, in addition to psychopharmacological approaches..

Original document


1 January 2017
Castle, David
Cunningham, Mitchell L.
Griffiths, Scott
Mitchison, Deborah
Mond, Jonathan M.
Murray, Stuart B.
United States of America
Other organisations
Macquarie University
St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne
University of California (UC)
University of Melbourne
University of Sydney (USyd)
University of Tasmania (UTAS)
Western Sydney University
Medical terms
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body image
Legitimate Medical Treatment
Mental disorders
Muscle dysmorphia
Document category
Scientific article
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Pdf file
Date generated
14 April 2021
Date of last modification
2 December 2021
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