Iranian Journal of Psychiatry 2017. 12(4):220-225.

Comparison of the Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders in Performance-Enhancing Drug Users and Nonuser Bodybuilders
Afshin Ostovar, Mohammad Javad Haerinejad, Samad Akbarzadeh, Mojtaba Keshavarz


Objective: The present study aimed at comparing the prevalence of major psychiatric disorders including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and generalized anxiety disorder between performance-enhancing drug users and nonuser bodybuilders. Moreover, the prevalence of major psychiatric disorders in bodybuilders was also reported.

Method: In this study, 453 athletes were recruited from Bushehr bodybuilding gyms from February to May 2015. A structured questionnaire was used to collect the participants’ information, including demographic characteristics, sports’ status and performance-enhancing drug use. According to the condition of performance-enhancing drug use, the participants were divided into current users, non-current users, and nonusers. The psychiatric status of the participants was evaluated using DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia. We also asked about the acute psychotic disturbances after using performance-enhancing drugs, alcohol use, and history of aggressive behavior in bodybuilders. Data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance and chi-square tests.

Results: Prevalence of major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, generalized anxiety disorder, and the overall prevalence of psychiatric disorders in the bodybuilders was 19.7%, 3.8%, 1.5%, 16.6%, and 26.7%, respectively. After using performance-enhancing drugs, 33% of the bodybuilders had experienced acute psychological disturbances. There were no significant differences between current, non-current, and nonuser bodybuilding athletes in the measured psychiatric disorders.

Conclusion: Prevalence of psychiatric disorders was not significantly different in performance-enhancing drug users and nonusers. Thus, it can be concluded that performance-enhancing drugs do not increase the risk of psychiatric disorders in bodybuilders.


Bodybuilding athletes; Mental disorders; Performance-Enhancing Drugs

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