Body Practices Among Male Drug Abusers. Meanings of Workout and use of Doping Agents in a Drug Treatment Setting

  • Heid NøklebyEmail author
  • Finn Skårderud


The use and understanding of anabolic steroids and other doping agents have changed in recent years. Associations between illicit drug use and the use of doping agents have been highlighted, but less attention has been given to the relationship between drug abuse treatment and associated body practices. In this study we looked at different experiences with, and understandings of, physical exercise and the use of doping agents. The study draws on interviews with nine young men, 22 to 35 years old, who are patients in residential substance abuse treatment in Norway. The phenomenological analysis showed various meanings of doping agents, some of which have previously not been fully described–namely the use of doping agents for transforming an emaciated drug user’s body into a muscular body and the use of doping agents for getting high. The findings are discussed in relation to theories of gender and embodiment, as well as theories of affect regulation and mentalization.


Anabolic-androgenic steroids Substance use disorder Embodiment Gender Liminality Affect regulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Research Centre for Child and Youth Competence DevelopmentLillehammer University CollegeLillehammerNorway
  2. 2.Tyrili Research and DevelopmentOsloNorway
  3. 3.Institute for Special Needs EducationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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