I’m sure there are several cases where you go to a local gym and see some people that are so massive that they can’t even fit in their shirt, or rather even straighten their arms. I’m sure you wonder, how did this man/woman get so big? More often than not, the answer is anabolic steroids. Steroids have been prevalent for years now and are common among body builders who perform in heavy weight lifting competitions simply because it is the easiest and quickest way to take off fat and gain muscle, resulting in a phrase that most people like to refer to as ‘gains.’ They are also extremely common in male athletes to enhance their performance as well. I’m sure you all have heard of the notorious baseball sluggers Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodrigues, and many others. These drugs obviously have a physical effect on the body, but how does this affect them mentally?
Anabolic steroids drive up the male hormone referred to as testosterone, the hormone that constructs male features, along with playing a role in the male’s appearance and influencing their behavior. These high testosterone levels are attributed to many different psychotic symptoms, especially aggressive behavior and even depression. Mood swings are also very common, along with a rise in anxiety levels, often referred to as a term called “roid rage.” The Structured Clinical Interview provided diagnostics for a randomized control trial conducted in 1994. They conducted this trial with a sample of 88 athletes who used anabolic steroids. In 23% of these cases, signs of mania and depression were present. The null hypothesis the researchers would use in this case is that steroids do not have an effect on behavior and the alternative would be that there is an effect. Another astonishing statistic is that 25% of these athletes experienced a dependence for the drug, which could cause severe withdrawal symptoms.
Additionally, aggression and certain behavioral attributes are not the only things that steroids psychologically effect. As steroid use continues, one is more likely to experience withdrawal from the drug, especially after building up a tolerance. This is extremely dangerous, and can even lead to serious depression and unfortunately in some cases maybe even suicide. An observational study of COPD patients was conducted, where two groups of n=20 patients were observed, one group receiving steroids and the other not. It was observed that steroid users had a significantly higher level of depression and dependence after a t-test was performed, resulting with a p-value of less than .01. Evidently, these studies may have a correlation, however this does not imply causation. Several confounding variables may be present in these tests. For example, do these participants consume alcohol and how frequently? Do they have a family history of any psychological disorder? These are third party variables to consider.
Sure, steroids may make you look ‘yolked’ and they may enhance physical performance, but the negative side effects definitely outweigh the pros. In conclusion, the dangers of steroids are clear and it is important to stay away from this substance, and stick to a more natural way of putting on muscle, for example having a high dose of protein in all your meals. This may not be the most efficient way for achieving what is widely known as ‘gainz,’ however, it is the safest and most natural, and you won’t have to live with the possible negative side effects that steroids could cause. Be safe, be natural, don’t use steroids.