How to survive with a man taking steroids?

Modern comic books, action films, trend in promoting perfectly lean shape, lead to using various kinds of aid by men. In one of the studies, Blouin and Goldfield [4], presented the connection between the disordered perception of one's body and nutrition habits. 43 bodybuilders, 48 runners and 48 martial arts competitors were checked. Bodybuilders showed the biggest dissatisfaction with their bodies with large tendency of the willingness of achieving body with larger amount of muscles, or lean shape, or even bulimic body.

Along with perfectionism and the disability of achieving the dreamed body, there was lower self-esteem and the mentioned disorders [4]. Some scientists point out, that the increasing requirements of sports, even on the level of secondary school or university, are the reasons of using anabolic-adnrogenic steroids (AAS) by young people. The Olympic Comitee forbade AAS only in 1975 [1]. It didn't change much, because even now, over half of the cases of doping in sports concerns using anabolic-androgenic steroids. You could find the reasons of chasing the “perfect body” even in supplements' advertisements, because how many percent of them present people with ordinary muscles and average shape? Practically speaking, all of those products are advertised by “anabolic monsters” - with huge arms, thighs, full shoulders and tens of “veins”. Unfortunately, using steroids may cause tens of side effects. In literature you can find well-precised mood swings correlated with using significant (doping) doses of AAS. What's interesting, small healing amount of, e.g. testosterone, improves the mood in refractory depression or treatment-resistant depression [1].

The influence of AAS on mental health

AAS may activate signal paths, release opiat peptides, modulate GABA expression, influence the 5-HT1 B and 5-HT2 (serotonin) receptors – influence the areas of the brain responsible for depression, stress, anger and sexual behaviour [9]. It is possible to cause depression, hypomania or mania with the doping doses of AAS. Pope and Katz interviewed bodybuilders and American football players using AAS. Conclusion: 22% of them suffered from mood swings [5]. In their next study, Pope and Katz showed that 23% of the patients overusing AAS fulfil the criteria of DSM-III for the mood disorder, from large depression disorders to type I and II bipolar disorders. Another study on bodybuilders proves that the users of AAS have depression symptoms much more often than the non-users. (DSM is a textbook, which aims at presenting the diagnostic criteria of all mental disorders recognized in the United States health system). [2] The retrospective study of Malone (weight lifters and bodybuilders) showed, that 10% of AAS users had some episodes of hypomania, another 10% had depression after discontinuing the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids.

AAS and suisidal predispositions

Parssinen did research for 12 years on 62 ellite Finnish weight lifters, who were suspected of using AAS. They had 4.6 times higher mortality rate compared to the population, mainly because of suisides and heart attacks.

The next study compares the 30-year long history of factors and death reasons of 181 former ellite sports people of such disciplines, as wrestling, powerlifting, weigt lifting, or athletics. Comparing to the population – general mortality wasn't higher in the group of 20-50 year olds, but former sportsmen died 45% more often than the control group, whereas those at the age of 30-50 commited suisides 2-4 times more often than the control group. 11.6% of former sportsmen commited suiside. The cancer prevalence was significantly higher in the group using AAS. [3]

Anabolic steroids and using drugs

Many researchers use unrefined moves – when associating drug addicts using AAS with the inclination to violence, or suisidal inclinations. Such thing happened in the Darke's study from 2014, who analysed death of 24 AAS users in the period of time from 1st January 1996 to December 2012. Those were all men at the average age of 31.7 [6]. In that group there were 20.8% of bodybuilders, their average BMI was 29.6.

The reasons of the men's deaths:

  • toxicity of drugs 54.2% (13),

  • toxicity of drugs and cardiovascular system disease 8.3% (2),

  • suiside 16.7% (4),

  • homicide 12.5% (3),

  • accident 4.2% (1),

  • not found 4.2% (1).

The following metabolites were found in their blood:

  • nandrolone (deca durabolin) 58.3% (14),

  • stanozolol (winstrol) 33.3% (8),

  • methandienone 20.8% (5),

  • boldenone 8.4% (2),

  • trenbolone 4.2% (1),

  • dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) 4.2% (1),

  • metenolone 4.2% (1),

  • oxymetholone 4.2% (1).

However, you should be careful with the conclusions to that study, because:

  • 66.7% of the men used drugs (besides AAS), including cocaine 41.7%, methamphetamin 37.5%, whereas, MDMA (extasy) 16.7%,

  • almost half of the men (apart from AAS) used benzodiazepines (tranquilizers/anti-anxiety medicines),

  • in case of 37.5% men the researchers found opioids (e.g. morphine),

  • as if that wasn't enough, 25% of men had alcohol in their blood!