Scientists Say More Young, Non-Athletic Men Engaging in Steroid Use
According to scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Harvard Medical School, an increasing number of young, non-athletic men are engaging in steroid use, including androgenic-anabolic steroids (AAS) and other similar performance-enhancing drugs.
The authors purport that this emerging tendency is caused, at least in part, by the idealized muscular male image that has become more prevalent in marketing and the media in the last few decades. Also, this trend may partially explain the growing number of men who admit to having dissatisfaction with their bodies, as well as preoccupation with increasing muscularity.
“During the last several decades, the image of the idealized male body in many countries has shifted toward a substantially higher level of muscularity. Bodybuilding competitors, male models, and even children’s action toys (eg, “G.I. Joe”) have become significantly more muscular than their predecessors of the 1960s.
Nowadays, young men are constantly exposed to muscular male images on magazine covers, in advertisements, on television, and in movies.”
The authors go on to say that obsessive over-concern with muscle mass enhancement is also known as “muscle dysmorphia,” a body image disorder, and is increasing in prevalence. This condition was first described by scientists less than 25 years ago, but has since been studied extensively.
This condition is similar to other body dysmorphic disorders in which the sufferer becomes obsessed with a real or imagined flaw in the appearance of his or her body (or parts of the body.)
Also sometimes referred to as “bigorexia,” it is essentially the opposite of anorexia, in which the sufferer has a preoccupation with being small and skinny.
Indeed, imagery of women in the media being portrayed as excessively thin has similarly been blamed for the increasing number of eating disorders being found in young women.
Authors also noted that an estimated 2.2% of men have body dysmorphia, and of those, 9-25% have muscle dysmorphia. This fact suggests that hundreds of thousands of men in the U.S. may suffer from this condition.
Anabolic steroid abuse has been associated with other drug use, infection, psychological and mood disturbances, and diseases of the heart, liver, and kidney.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology