“BDD is the absolute core of what led to my alcohol and drug use. “I slept too much and did alcohol and drugs as an escape, to try to forget my scars,” he said. “Sometimes drinking decreased my concern temporarily. But sometimes the alcohol could make my symptoms worse, and it became a problem in its own right. After his BDD improved with the medication fluvoxamine (Luvox), he stopped using alcohol and heroin. In fact, he’d been selling heroin to support his habit, and had been in jail several times. This, too, stopped when he was treated with Luvox.
Emily described her experience as follows. “The only thing that brought relief was drinking…. My symptoms were totally debilitating, so intensely painful, and they were making me more and more depressed. Even though I was suffering so much, and drinking too much, no one knew I was suffering from BDD because I managed to look as though I was doing okay. I pulled it together, but the agony inside was totally overwhelming. I couldn’t talk about it with other people.
“I finally went to my doctor and told him about the situation because I was worried about my drinking. He told me when I stopped drinking I wouldn’t be depressed. But that wasn’t true for me. I drank because of body dysmorphic disorder…. I drank and slept to deal with it. What causes me the most pain now is the effects of my drinking on my son. I wasn’t there for him. That’s the part that hurts me the most.”
Some men with muscle dysmorphia use anabolic steroids to bulk up. This is a family of drugs that includes the male hormone testosterone as well as numerous synthetic derivatives of testosterone. Unless prescribed for specific medical treatment, anabolic steroids are illegal in the United States and many other countries. They may increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and possibly prostate cancer. They can also cause irritability, aggression, depression, and physical dependence. And to shed pounds or body fat, some people use ephedra-related products (such as ephedra, ephedrine, or ma huang), dietary supplements which are chemical relatives of speed. In high doses, ephedra may have very serious health risks. It can cause heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and even death.
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