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too skinny teen

Steroid Use a Danger For “Too Skinny” Teens

Teen boys who see themselves as “too skinny” are more likely to be depressed, be bullied and take up using steroids than boys who view themselves as average or overweight says psychologists who just released their findings from a pair of studies on the issue of body image.

too skinny teen

Skinny teen boys are more likely to be depressed than overweight boys according to a pair of studies by the APA.

The studies, which were published in the American Psychological Association journal Psychology of Men & Masculinity, followed 2,139 boys who were all around 16 years old in 1996 for 13 years. The sample was also representative of the racial makeup of that time period as well. The participants were asked questions about their body image and their feeling towards it and issues with it. The researchers found that boys desired a muscular physique and can become depressed if their bodies don’t look that way.

“We found that some of these boys who feel they are unable to achieve that often unattainable image are suffering and may be taking drastic measures,” said Aaron Blashill, PhD, staff psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and faculty member at Harvard Medical School, who led both studies.

Steroid use among the group in one study coincided with the number of boys who reported that they were very underweight. Boys who reported they were underweight also reported being bullied more which also predicted a higher chance of steroid use.

For councilors working with teenage boys who are bullied and who see themselves as too skinny, Blashill recommends them to be mindful of possible steroid use even though preventing steroid use directly is difficult.

“Unfortunately, there is little evidence-based research on effective therapies for steroid use among adolescent boys,” he said. “However, cognitive-behavioral therapy has proven to be effective for body image concerns and could be helpful for boys considering using or already using steroids.”

 

teen steroids

Study Finds Teen Steroid Use On the Rise

A recent study by the University of Minnesota found that steroid use and muscle supplement use among teenagers is going up. The study, which surveyed 2,700 students in the Minneapolis School District found that 5.9 percent of boys and 4.6 percent of girls had used steroids.

“In some of the more harmful behaviors, like steroid use, we had about 4, 5, 6 percent of young people saying they’re involved in this,” said Marla Eisenberg, a University of Minnesota researcher in an interview with CBS Minnesota. The study showed that steroid use was spread across athletes, non-athletes and teens of all different races. “Asian American youth had higher rates of steroid use in particular”

picture of man doing exercise

steroid use on the rise among teens.

The survey’s questionnaire asked students about their views on increasing their muscle size and how or if they had tried to achieve a buffer look. Besides steroid use, the survey discovered that 34 percent of boys and 21 percent of girls used protein shakes to build muscle and that teens commonly ate and exercised for the sole purpose of building muscle. Eisenburg readily blamed media stereotypes for the reason teens turn to steroids and supplements for muscle growth. “We’re seeing a lot more athletes, and celebrities, and male models that have bigger and much more tone and buff looking figures. We’re seeing them everywhere.”

Steroid use is both dangerous and unnecessary for teens. It can lead to severe emotional problems, aggravated acne, permanent gynocomastia and even impotence and skeletal development issues. Teenagers are already pumped with testosterone naturally during puberty and it is important for the body to develop its natural way of keeping its anabolic and androgenic balance of testosterone and estrogen. Adding testosterone, or even protein peptides, to a growing body can have severe effects and there are very few doctors who have the knowledge of treating the damage that can be done.

It is unclear why the researchers chose to include protein shakes in their study. Whey protein is just a concentrated form of dairy that delivers high doses of branch chain amino acids that feed the muscles after workouts and encourage them to grow. There is really nothing unnatural about whey protein. The researchers may have only wanted to gauge the attitudes of students on taking supplements that make you stronger – if a student sees protein shakes as a shortcut to a better body, they may eventually see steroids the same way.

If the study of students in an state like Minnesota found rising steroid use, imagine what a study of border states where steroids are easier to find on the black market like California, Arizona, Texas, etc. would find. It is obvious that better education about muscle science is becoming more necessary as teen desires for a buff body type become more pronounced, while at the same time steroids become more available.