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January 3, 2017

Body Image Disorders and Abuse of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids Among Men

Author Affiliations
  • 1Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, Massachusetts
  • 2Medical Consequences Branch, Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 3Research Program in Men’s Health: Aging and Metabolism, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2017;317(1):23-24. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.17441

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.

Perhaps as a consequence of these trends, young men have become increasingly concerned with their muscularity, reflected by an increasing prevalence of “muscle dysmorphia,” a form of body image disorder characterized by an obsessive preoccupation with a muscular appearance.1,2 First described in the scientific literature less than 25 years ago, muscle dysmorphia has now become the subject of numerous reports and has been included as an official diagnosis in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).2

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