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Psychiatrist.comAssociation of Body Dysmorphic–Induced Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Use with Mental Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review

Exploring the Link Between Body Dysmorphia, Steroid Use, and Mental Health

A recent systematic review has explored the complex relationship between body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), anabolic-androgenic steroid use (AAS), and mental health outcomes. The study aims to identify potential interventions and treatments that may help mitigate these detrimental effects.

Study Design

  • The study reviewed articles from PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, Embase, and PsycINFO from 1992 to 2022.
  • Search terms included “AAS,” “mental health outcomes,” “body dysmorphia,” and related terms.
  • Forty-one articles were identified, and after removing duplicates and full-text appraisal, 33 articles were included in the final review.

Key Findings

  • Bodybuilders and fitness athletes may be more susceptible to developing muscle dysmorphia, having disordered eating habits, and using performance-enhancing drugs like AAS.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic increased reliance on social media and online interactions, previously associated with disordered eating patterns and negative body image.
  • Being a member of a sexual minority may increase one’s risk of developing muscle dysmorphia and other types of BDD.
  • The development and evaluation of interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based interventions, and peer support programs, should be prioritized to deter AAS use in people at risk.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 1.7% to 2.4% of the general population has BDD.

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