Ex-steroid user: Without help I'd be in prison – or dead

Credit: Dave Crosland & JG/Adam Trice

There is growing concern over the number of people, mainly men, who are sacrificing their health in search of the so-called perfect body.

In the second of our reports looking at the rise in steroid use and associated dangers, we meet the man with muscle dysmorphia, or "bigorexia."

Adam Trice says that using steroids poisoned his mind

This pursuit of perfection in the form of muscle mass can have a profound effect on mental health.

Adam Trice said 'he would've ended up dead' or 'in jail for killing someone' if he did not seek help to treat the condition.

  • What is Bigorexia?

Doctors sometimes refer to muscle dysmorphia as bigorexia or reverse anorexia. The term, muscle dysmorphia, refers to a subtype of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Research shows that men have become increasingly dissatisfied with their perceived body images.

Body dysmorphic disorder in men sometimes manifests in the form of muscle dysmorphia. With muscle dysmorphia, men become obsessed with the size of their muscles and have excessive concerns about appearing physically weak or underdeveloped. These men have an excessive preoccupation with their muscle size and experience great distress over these concerns.

Men who have bigorexia are obsessed with the gym Credit: PA

Men with bigorexia spend excessive amounts of time working out in the gym, dieting, checking themselves in a mirror, comparing themselves to others, and seeking reassurance from others about their appearance. Many of them also abuse anabolic steroids in an effort to build muscle mass and foster more lean muscle tissue.

Doctors can effectively treat bigorexia in much the same way they treat the different types of OCD. It is important to recognise the signs of bigorexia and differentiate them from behaviors of those who simply exercise and work out everyday to stay fit and healthy.