There is no doubt judging by case reports and other studies that anabolic steroids, particularly when taken in high doses, can increase aggression and irritability.
Indeed, some steroid abusers openly report they have carried out aggressive acts, fighting, using force to obtain something and even committing armed robbery.
Some also admitted committing property crimes, like stealing from a store and damaging another person’s property, or breaking into a house or a building. Such people tend to say they have engaged in these behaviors when they have taken steroids but would not even think about it when they are free of drugs. To find out more go to HealthEd Academy.
Some researchers suggest steroid abusers may commit their property crimes and aggressive acts because the abusers are affected by media coverage of the link between steroids and aggression. They say the crimes do not appear to be committed due to the steroids’ direct effects on the brain. If this theory is correct, the abusers use the potential link as an excuse for wrongdoing.
To distinguish between the possibilities researchers take a group of human volunteers and administer either placebos or high steroid doses for a period of days or even weeks and then ask the sample to report back on the effects to their behavior.
Of four studies like this, three showed that high steroid doses produced enhanced feelings of aggression and irritability compared to the placebo results. But one study showed the drugs had no effect.
The researchers surmised this indicated that not all anabolic steroids affect irritability and aggression.
It has also been found that anabolic steroids can also have effects on other behaviors. These include triggering euphoria, increasing energy, heightening sexual arousal, and causing mood swings, with increased distractibility and forgetfulness, along with confusion.
In studies where researchers gave high steroid doses to a group of volunteers, a minority reported developing behavioral symptoms so extreme they disrupted the ability to function at work or in wider society. There were even a few cases where the resulting behavior posed a threat to the volunteers and others.
Although the extent that steroid abuse can contribute to behavioral disorders, including violence is unknown, the prevalence of extreme cases appears to be low, but this could be down to it going underreported or being insufficiently recognized.
How To Prevent Steroid Abuse
Attempts to prevent steroid abuse have so far concentrated on education about the adverse effects of anabolic steroids. The tests that have been carried out to establish whether drugs like steroids are being abused are being studied to establish if such testing actually cuts the rate of drug abuse.
What has been found so far is that educational programs do not convince people, particularly adolescents, that they can personally be adversely affected. Nor does this sort of instruction appear to discourage young people from taking steroids in the future.
By presenting the two sides of the steroid coin – the risks and the benefits – has been shown to be much more effective in convincing adolescents about the negative effects of anabolic steroids.
This appears to be because the students prefer this balanced approach and find it less biased and more credible than just banging on about the downsides. Unfortunately, however, this balanced approach is still not discouraging enough adolescents to shy away from abusing steroids.
One more sophisticated approach that has been showing promise in the prevention of steroid abuse has been revealed in research among students who play in their high school sports teams.
The ATLAS program, which has been developed for football players, their coaches and their team leaders, gets the participants to discuss potential effects of drugs on sports performances, including anabolic steroids. The program also teaches how offers of drugs can be refused.
The discussions cover topics like the benefits of strength training and nutrition on bodybuilding without resorting to steroids. Trainers teach players how to weightlift properly.
The studies, which are ongoing, reveal that this team-centered, multi-component approach is capable of reducing steroid abuse by as much as 50%.