The general public has been convinced that anabolic steroids transform men into aggressive monsters. This phenomenon is known as roid rage and is often listed as an expected side effect roid abuse.
A popular example would be the scene part of the HBO show, Lifestories: Families in Crisis in which Ben Affleck falls into a deep roid rage and decides to break everything in sight.
As a man with a brain could expect, the majority of the roid rage reports on TV are propaganda. However, that does not mean that roid rage is a myth.
The intake of synthetic hormones can definitely influence your behavior and state of calmness. People report all kinds of side effects when taking the drugs – insomnia, paranoia, excessive sexual desire, aggressiveness…etc.
Furthermore, testosterone is linked to many typical male qualities, and it has the potential to make you aggressive. A high intake of testosterone gives you a lot of energy and puts you in the so-called “alpha male” mode.
Is steroid addiction real?
Yes. People can get addicted to steroids physically and mentally. Once you have developed an identity based on your steroid induced physique, it’s really hard to turn your back on it and live without the drugs. In addition, steroids suppress your natural testosterone. Consequently, when you stop taking the drugs, your testosterone levels are very low. This often leads to depression.
In short, one can get extremely irritated when the supplies of the miraculous muscle drugs are cut for good.
What do the studies say?
A study performed in 2000 revealed the following:
BACKGROUND:Field studies of illicit anabolic-androgenic steroid users suggest that some develop manic or aggressive reactions to these drugs-a potential public health problem. However, controlled laboratory evaluations of these effects remain limited.
METHODS:In a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial, we administered testosterone cypionate for 6 weeks in doses rising to 600 mg/wk and placebo for 6 weeks, separated by 6 weeks of no treatment, to 56 men aged 20 to 50 years. Psychiatric outcome measures included the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS), the Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm (a computerized provocation test of aggression), the Aggression Questionnaire of Buss and Perry, the Symptom Checklist-90-R, daily diaries of manic and depressive symptoms, and similar weekly diaries completed by a “significant other” who knew the participant well.
RESULTS: Testosterone treatment significantly increased manic scores on the YMRS (P = .002), manic scores on daily diaries (P = .003), visual analog ratings of liking the drug effect (P = .008), and aggressive responses on the Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm (P = .03). Drug response was highly variable: of 50 participants who received 600 mg/wk of testosterone cypionate, 42 (84%) exhibited minimal psychiatric effects (maximum YMRS score, <10), 6 (12%) became mildly hypomanic (YMRS score, 10-19), and 2 (4%) became markedly hypomanic (YMRS score, > or =20). The 8 “responders” and 42 “nonresponders” did not differ significantly on baseline demographic, psychological, laboratory, or physiological measures.
CONCLUSIONS: Testosterone administration, 600 mg/wk increased ratings of manic symptoms in normal men. This effect, however, was not uniform across individuals; most showed little psychological change, whereas a few developed prominent effects. The mechanism of these variable reactions remains unclear.
So, is roid rage a myth?
The data suggest that roid rage is real but largely dependent on your character. If you are more aggressive in general, steroids may boost this quality.
However, the stories in the media according to which men kill their whole families because of roid rage are speculation.