• Vol. 29 No. 1, 135–137
  • 15 January 2000

Muscle Dysmorphia in a Young Chinese Male



Introduction: To describe a young Chinese male with muscle dysmorphia, a recently proposed variant of body dysmorphic disorder.

Clinical Picture: A 24-year-old Chinese male with a morbid fear of weight and muscle loss with associated compulsive weight training, avoidance behaviour, forced eating, depressed mood and disturbed body image.

Treatment: Antidepressants and cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy.

Outcome: Preoccupation with muscularity was reduced.

Conclusions: Muscle dysmorphia has been reported in Western populations, mostly among body builders and anabolic steroid abusers. To our knowledge, this is the first case report originating from a non-Western population. The patient illustrates the nosological difficulty of this recent entity. It is likely to be a culture-bound phenomena associated with a Western concept of an ideal body shape for males.

In 1891, Morselli described “dysmorphophobia” in 78 patients who were severely miserable, preoccupied and distressed by perceived deformities. The word “dysmorphia” in Greek means ugly. Body dysmorphic disorder appeared in DSM-III in 1987.

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