Human behavior changes related to overuse of anabolic steroids

Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that help in the growth and repair of muscle tissues. However, its misuse results in many psychological problems, including irritability and mood disorders. Individuals who misuse this drug take it orally, apply it on the skin as cream or gel or directly inject it into muscles.

Anabolic Steroid Misuse

Individuals who misuse the anabolic steroid take doses that range from 10 to 100 times higher than the prescribed dosage [1]. Misuse of the drug includes taking multiple quantities at a specific period, called cycling. Also, combining two or more steroids, known as stacking, is very harmful. Besides, increasing the dose slowly and then stopping it at once is also critical to health.

Misuse of anabolic steroids has long-term effects on a person’s psychological health, including mood disorders and many other issues, as discussed below.

Social Dysfunction

One of the long-term side effects of anabolic steroid misuse is social dysfunctions. Individuals who misuse anabolic steroids have a higher risk of developing anti-social behavior. It significantly affects the social, personal, and academic domains of a person’s life. Moreover, these individuals have lower self-esteem [2].

Mats Hallgren and his associates in 2015 conducted a study on anabolic-androgenic steroids. The study aimed to find the link between problematic behaviors and anabolic- androgenic steroid misuse. Results revealed that anabolic drug users have a significantly higher anti-social behavior ratio [3].


Individuals who misuse anabolic steroids have severe verbal outbursts and irritability. Also, these individuals have extreme anger than non-users. They are involved in verbal aggression, fights, and violence towards other individuals. A study also suggested that aggression in these individuals is due to secondary hormonal changes [4].

Many studies were performed for years to test the relation between aggression and anabolic steroids. One such study administered using a questionnaire revealed that a higher rate of testosterone is responsible for the increase in aggression.

Psychotic Disorders

Individuals who misuse anabolic steroids are more likely to develop psychotic disorders, including delusions and mania. Also, they have trouble sleeping and have severe mood swings. Some patients have prominent symptoms, while others show minor psychological changes.

Moreover, it impairs their cognitive abilities, including thinking and judgments. They become paranoid and feel extremely unreasonable jealously. Also, it leads to anxiety and significant depressive symptoms in most individuals. A sudden decrease in weight is also possible due to depression and poor appetite [5].

Prone To Other Drugs

Misuse of anabolic steroids makes a person more prone to using other drugs such as opioids, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. A study shows a link between anabolic steroids misuse and the probability of using other drugs. Approximately 25 percent of patients reported that they were first using anabolic steroids, leading to abuse of opioids [6].

Most individuals use other drugs to treat irritability, depression, or insomnia caused by the misuse of anabolic steroids. Through this way, they try to withdraw from anabolic steroids but become addicted to heroin or cocaine.




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