A new study of elite male strength athletes finds a link between use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) and mental health problems later in life.
This is the main conclusion of a new University of Gothenburg study recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The study included almost 700 former Swedish wrestlers, weightlifters, powerlifters and throwers who competed at the elite level sometime between 1960 and 1979.
Twenty per cent of them admitted using steroids during their active careers. The purpose of the study was to look for links between AAS use and mental problems.
“We found a clear link. AAS users were more likely to have been treated for depression, concentration problems and aggressive behavior,” said researcher and psychologist Dr. Claudia Fahlke.
Investigators also found that AAS users were more likely to have abused other illicit drugs and alcohol.
Still, it remains unclear whether the steroid use actually caused the mental health problems or the mental health problems rather caused the steroid use.
‘What we were able to show, though, is that psychiatric symptoms and use of steroids and other drugs tend to reinforce each other in a vicious cycle,” Fahlke said.
“This suggests that the anti-doping efforts remain very important, both in and outside of sports.”
Source: University of Gothenburg