Anabolic steroid abuse is becoming an increasing problem for those of us who treat men with body image disorders.
According to drugabuse.gov, the primary reasons of non-athletes to use steroid are to decrease fat in body tissue and improve muscle size.
Particularly an issue in boys and men with problems of compulsive exercise and muscle dysmorphia, I have also seen it in a few cases of bulimia nervosa.
Anabolic Steroid Abuse
Steroids are everywhere, and health professionals underestimate their use.
Increasingly we hear of famous athletes under suspicion of abusing drugs.
But for every one professional athlete seeking enhanced performance, there are many dozen more men seeking the body beautiful.
There are no shortcuts to the perfect body?
Imagine a drug that will make you bigger and stronger without spending hours and hours in the gym, following complicated diet and workout programs.
While other men are spending hours down the gym honing their bodies, watching their diet, suffering for their art, the steroid abuser can eat all the junk he wants and skip days of training, yet still build muscle bulk.
So why isn’t everyone doing it?
Body Image Disorders in Men
The fact is that very many actors and sports heroes are reliant on steroids.
Steroid abuse has become part of the culture, a hidden part and therefore all the more insidious.
And the results are a series of Hollywood role models that would make even Superman feel like Clark Kent.
Teenagers watch the movies and are inspired to take shortcuts to the impossible body, without even asking the question: “is this safe?”
Many actresses and models have a percent body fat incompatible with a healthy body, a regular menstrual cycle or a fertile womb.
Idealised images of beauty to which young girls are exposed are not consistent with hormonal health.
In the same way, the extra-muscular superheroes, male models or actors on the screen present young men with an image of male beauty that cannot be achieved by natural means alone.
Men come in all shapes and sizes – it’s only natural.
When men are inspired to subvert their genetic destiny, there isn’t much choice but to follow an unnatural route.
For some, this leads to anorexia nervosa and for others to muscle dysmorphia.
Body image dissatisfaction stands out as the leading cause of steroid abuse, especially anabolic steroids.
Although nonprescription steroids are illegal, a hidden and wast industry has arisen to supply the growing demand.
Many hundreds of thousands of men are feeding that industry every day, and only a few of them are professional athletes.
Most are men who are simply unhappy with their natural bodies.
When visiting leading online health magazines, you can follow their links and adverts and within two minutes you will end up on a page that will instruct you how to order illegal steroids via email, how to pay using bitcoins and other untraceable methods, how to arrange delivery almost anywhere in the World and even how to administer steroids.
On top of that, you will also find plenty information suggesting how to avoid detection from drug-screening programs.
With such ease of availability, just how widespread is the problem?
Of course, you can also buy safe and legal steroid alternatives on sites like Your Body Doctor, but that’s not enough.
In 1993 a study of American students under the age of 15 found that roughly one in 15 boys had been abusing anabolic steroids.
This study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, confirmed earlier studies that had suggested an epidemic in adolescents and young men.
The dearth of comparable studies in Europe suggests that the problem has not been taken seriously, but all the evidence points to a similar epidemic beyond the USA.
For instance, the British Medical Association reported that almost half the members of body-building gyms had taken muscle-building drugs, and steroid use was as high as one in eight in some fitness centres.
Government agencies are only now waking up to the need for preventative measures.
Steroid abuse and body image disorders are real.
And it is extremely important to see not only the benefits of anabolic steroids but also the dark side, filled with really dangerous side effects.
Always do your research, always consult a professional health specialist.