Module Three - Psychological effects of AAS abuse

Supervisor's Guide to Understanding Anabolic Androgenic Steroids

AAS users can experience psychiatric symptoms during the use, abuse or withdrawal. Symptoms differ depending on the drug's absence or presence in the body. Symptoms tend to correlate with the size of the weekly dose and can worsen with long-term use. Importantly, the psychiatric symptoms are individualized; some men taking a given dose of AAS may show no psychiatric effects at all, whereas a few men taking an identical dose might show extreme effects. The reasons for this are not known, but it is clear that reactions to AAS cannot be predicted on the basis of an individual's baseline personality. In other words, even if a man has a mild-mannered, gentle personality when not taking AAS, there is still a risk that he might develop a sudden personality change and become uncharacteristically aggressive and violent while taking AAS.

Symptoms Associated with Use or Abuse

  • Mania or hypomania (high energy levels associated with increased self-confidence, increased activity, impaired judgment, and reckless behavior)
  • Psychosis - loss of touch with reality (for example, paranoia or delusions of grandeur;infrequent)
  • Personality changes

Symptoms Associated with With drawl

  • Long-term AAS abusers can develop symptoms of dependence and withdrawal on discontinuation.
  • With drawl sometimes leads to severe depression and thoughts of suicide, in addition to medical effects, especially in individuals who have taken AAS for months or years