EastEnders is to explore dependency on anabolic steroids in a new storyline involving schoolboy Denzel Danes.

In scenes set to air on the BBC soap opera in spring, the teenager, played by Jaden Ladega, begins to struggle with his body image after developing an obsession with exercise.

Viewers will see him being introduced to steroids and how this affects his wellbeing.

It will also explore how social media influences his perception of his body image and his mental health.

Viewers will see Denzel attempt to hide his steroid usage from those close to him as things escalate when he imposes heavier restrictions on his diet and exercise regime.

The BBC show teamed up with the charity WithYou, which offers support with alcohol, drugs and mental health, and people with experience of the issues were consulted to help portray the subject accurately.

EastEnders’ executive producer Chris Clenshaw said: “It was imperative for us to work alongside WithYou and individuals with lived experiences of steroid usage to accurately present and portray Denzel’s storyline.

“Jaden’s performance has thoughtfully portrayed the isolating realities of a steroid dependency as we explore how social media has an impact on his perception of body image and the affects that anabolic steroid misuse are having on the youth of today.”

The lead clinical pharmacist at WithYou, Abigail Wilson, said: “It is really important that this type of storyline highlights the character’s journey and the risks they may face in a realistic way.

“It has been amazing to work alongside the EastEnders team, and I really hope that this storyline will help and encourage people affected by similar challenges to access support, from WithYou or another substance misuse support service.”