Studies are showing an increasing incidence in “muscle dysmorphia,” defined as men who are dissatisfied with their bodies and obsessively preoccupied with their lack of muscular appearance. The result can be the use of supplements and abuse of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs), according to an article published in the January issue of JAMA. The authors point out the detrimental effect of modern media, which can equate muscularity with masculinity.
Muscle dysmorphia is so severe that it is now an official diagnosis in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
Some men with muscle dysmorphia may resort to lifetime use of AASs. Also, while striving to gain muscle and lose body fat, they often combine highly supraphysiologic doses of AASs with other substances to enhance their appearance and performance, including human growth hormone, thyroid hormones, insulin and more, with adverse health effects from AAS including increased risk of premature death, cardiovascular disorders, psychiatric effects and possible long-term neurotoxic implications.