Adonis complex: causes, symptoms and treatment

Concern for physical appearance, to a greater or lesser extent, is a common thing these days, as we live immersed in the culture of the image. Now when this preoccupation becomes too much of a part of our life and leads us to engage in self-defeating behaviors, so we are talking about the Adonis complex, A serious problem that must be resolved.

In this article, we will talk about the Adonis complex and delve into its causes, symptoms and treatment.

    What is the Adonis complex

    The Adonis complex this is popularly called vigor, Stamina or reverse anorexia. People with this disorder continually suffer from their physical appearance and especially from their obsession and fixation with acquiring a muscular body, which would represent the maximum expression of male body image. This obsession and this worry lead the individual to pathological extremes.

    The term “Adonis complex” is not generally used in the medical community, but rather is the name that receives vigor in a popular way. This curious name is taken from Greek mythology, who represented Adonis as half man and half god. Adonis was considered the supreme being of male beauty and, according to mythology, his body was so beautiful that it won the love of Aphrodite, queen of all gods.

      the causes

      According to some research, in Spain there are around 700,000 cases of the Adonis complex or vigor. most men aged 15 to 35 usually suffer from this disorder; however, cases of women with this disease have also been reported.

      Although the exact cause of this disorder is difficult to determine, scientific studies conclude that it is a number of factors that can cause the onset of Adonis complex. They are as follows:

      1. Low self-esteem

      Low self-esteem it is both a cause and a consequence of this disorder, and is that people with Adonis complex tend to value themselves negatively and lack self-confidence. They become obsessed with physical appearance, thinking that this way they will feel better. They are not good with themselves and seek external approval that does nothing to promote their mental well-being.

        2. Image culture

        The culture of the image and the values ​​and beliefs that this society promotes have an effect on the way people interpret the environment and value themselves. We are continually surrounded by media that make us feel bad if we don’t meet unrealistic expectations we may come to bear fruit from the canon of western beauty. Education is the best way to counter these toxic values ​​or beliefs.

        3. Intimidation

        Some people can develop this condition after having a negative self-image which is a consequence of how they harassed them early in their life. For example, because of the mockery of classmates at school.

        4. Perfectionism

        The perfectionist personality is closely related to the desire to have a perfect body. These types of behaviors lead to obsession, Because perfectionists are very hard on themselves and don’t accept themselves as they are.

          Symptoms and signs

          People who suffer from Adonis complex live obsessed with their physical appearance and may spend several hours a day thinking about their body in negative ways and looking in the mirror over and over again. Vigorous people are people who take care of their diet to the extreme, because they want to have a body without fat but at the same time voluminous and muscular. They are never satisfied with their appearance because they are never beautiful.

          Not seeing their cause of the discomfort well and they try to counter the anxiety and low self esteem they feel with certain harmful behaviors. For example, they consume anabolics, eat unhealthy ways, and they obsessively exercise, Leaving aside the health benefits and focusing only on body image, even sacrificing your well-being.


          Psychological therapy can be really effective in treating this disorder, but the first step in overcoming the Adonis complex is for the patient to accept that they have a problem and be ready to seek help. If you know you are suffering from vigor, you may want to see your GP first to explain the problem to them. Although this professional can make an initial diagnosis, it is necessary to contact a psychologist specializing in this type of disorder.

          Psychological therapy is useful because it re-educates the patient to learn positive and realistic thought patterns and behaviors. While there are other treatments such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (TCBM) or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which belong to third generation therapies and help the patient to s ‘accept himself and adopt a non-judgmental attitude towards him. body, Classical Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is usually the go-to treatment. There is enough scientific evidence to say that this is an effective treatment.

          CBT can be group or individual and aims to recognize and make connections between the thoughts, feelings and behavior of the patient, so that the patient can acquire practical skills to overcome their problems. In this case, the goal will be to focus on the patient’s beliefs about their own body and physical appearance, which will allow them to modify harmful behaviors.

          Different techniques are used in cognitive behavioral therapy: cognitive restructuring, exposure techniques, social skills training, among others.

          • You can read more about these techniques in this article: “The 10 Most Used Cognitive Behavioral Techniques”

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