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Abuse of Anabolic Steroids Tied to Mental Health Problems

Abuse of Anabolic Steroids Associated with Mental Health IssuesA 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

Hand holding a syringe photo by shutterstock.

Abuse of Anabolic Steroids Tied to Mental Health Problems

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Abuse of Anabolic Steroids Tied to Mental Health Problems. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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