Anabolic Steroid Facts (cont.)

In addition, people who inject anabolic steroids run the added risk of contracting or transmitting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, which causes serious damage to the liver.

Scientific research also shows that aggression and other psychiatric side effects may result from abuse of anabolic steroids. Many users report feeling good about themselves while on anabolic steroids, but researchers report that extreme mood swings also can occur, including manic-like symptoms leading to violence. Depression often is seen when the drugs are stopped and may contribute to dependence on anabolic steroids. Researchers report also that users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.1

Research also indicates that some users might turn to other drugs to alleviate some of the negative effects of anabolic steroids. For example, a study of 227 men admitted in 1999 to a private treatment center for dependence on heroin or other opioids found that 9.3 percent had abused anabolic steroids before trying any other illicit drug. Of these 9.3 percent, 86 percent first used opioids to counteract insomnia and irritability resulting from the anabolic steroids.2

Extent of Use

Monitoring the Future (MTF) Survey*

MTF annually assesses drug use among the Nation's 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students. Steroid use among all three grades assessed remained unchanged from 2005 to 2006, for both boys and girls, although significant reductions were noted since 2001 for lifetime** use. Past year use was reported by 0.9 percent of 8th-graders, 1.2 percent of 10th-graders, and 1.8 percent of 12th-graders in 2006. Perceived risk of steroid use, which is collected only for seniors, increased significantly, from 56.8 percent in 2005 to 60.2 percent in 2006. Disapproval of steroid use, also collected only for seniors, did not change significantly from 2005 to 2006.

Anabolic Steroid Use by Students
2006 Monitoring the Future Survey

  8th Grade 10th Grade 12th Grade
Lifetime 1.6% 1.8% 2.7%
Past Year 0.9 1.2 1.8
Past Month 0.5 0.6 1.1