Comparison of the Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders in Performance-Enhancing Drug Users and Nonuser Bodybuilders

  • Afshin Ostovar The Persian Gulf Tropical Medicine Research Center, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran. Osteoporosis Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • Mohammad Javad Haerinejad The Persian Gulf Tropical Medicine Research Center, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran.
  • Samad Akbarzadeh Department of Biochemistry, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran
  • Mojtaba Keshavarz Mail Shiraz Neuroscience Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran. Department of Pharmacology, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran.
Bodybuilding athletes, Mental disorders, Performance-Enhancing Drugs


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.


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How to Cite
Ostovar A, Haerinejad M, Akbarzadeh S, Keshavarz M. Comparison of the Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders in Performance-Enhancing Drug Users and Nonuser Bodybuilders. Iran J Psychiatry. 12(4):220-225.
Original Article(s)