Bodybuilding Boys Often Try Drugs and Alcohol, Study Finds

Preoccupation with body image can lead to risky behaviors, researcher says

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According to Field, boys concerned with thinness but not muscularity were more likely to develop symptoms of depression, while boys concerned with muscularity and being thin were more likely to use drugs.

Boys concerned about muscularity who used steroids or growth hormones were more likely to start binge drinking and use drugs, the researchers found.

Dr. Metee Comkornruecha, an adolescent medicine specialist at Miami Children's Hospital in Florida, said "this confirms that body image concerns are associated with psychological issues.

"What we are seeing in boys is more rampant than what we have seen in the past," he added. "There is a push by society for young men to look a certain way, and some feel that by using drugs they can get that appearance and, in turn, that's how they feel better about themselves."

Parents need to be aware of how their kids feel about themselves. "If they are overly concerned about their body image, they may need professional help," Comkornruecha said.

More information

For more on eating disorders in boys, visit the National Eating Disorder Association.

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