Commentary on muscle dysmorphia as an addiction: A response to Grant (2015) and Nieuwoudt (2015)

Mark D Griffiths, Andrew C Foster, Gillian W Shorter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


Following the publication of our paper ‘Muscle Dysmorphia: Could it be classified as an addiction to
body image?’ in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, two commentaries by Jon Grant and Johanna Nieuwoudt were
published in response to our paper. Method: Using the ‘addiction components model’, our main contention is that
muscle dysmorphia (MD) actually comprises a number of different actions and behaviors and that the actual addictive
activity is the maintaining of body image via a number of different activities such as bodybuilding, exercise, eating
certain foods, taking specific drugs (e.g., anabolic steroids), shopping for certain foods, food supplements, and
purchase or use of physical exercise accessories. This paper briefly responds to these two commentaries. Results:
While our hypothesized specifics relating to each addiction component sometimes lack empirical support (as noted
explicitly by both Nieuwoudt and Grant), we still believe that our main thesis (that almost all the thoughts and behaviors
of those with MD revolve around the maintenance of body image) is something that could be empirically tested
in future research by those who already work in the area. Conclusions: We hope that the ‘Addiction to Body Image’
model we proposed provides a new framework for carrying out work in both empirical and clinical settings. The idea
that MD could potentially be classed as an addiction cannot be negated on theoretical grounds as many people in the
addiction field are turning their attention to research in new areas of behavioral addiction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-13
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Issue number1
Early online date18 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2015


  • muscle dysmorphia
  • behavioral addiction
  • behavioural addiction
  • addiction
  • body dysmorphic disorder
  • body image
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • eating disorder
  • Psychology


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