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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. Here we considered only their understandings of the relationship between the physical body and the surrounding culture, not for example the distribution of power.

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Correspondence to Heid Nøkleby.

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Nøkleby, H., Skårderud, F. Body Practices Among Male Drug Abusers. Meanings of Workout and use of Doping Agents in a Drug Treatment Setting. Int J Ment Health Addiction 11, 490–502 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-013-9434-5

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Keywords

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