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Emotional Side Effects of Steroids

author image Whitney Hooley
Whitney Hooley is beginning her career as a writer. She has a bachelor's degree in religion and psychology as well as a master's degree in kinesiology. Hooley is also an ACSM-certified personal trainer and a former NCAA Division I swim coach.
Emotional Side Effects of Steroids
Steroid usage can cause emotional side effects.

Using steroids can result in a variety of side effects. These side effects can be physical and mental. The severity of the side effects and the specific side effects that are experienced can differ from user to user, but men and women will both experience reproductive system changes from odd hair growth to changes in breast size. In addition, steroid users will manifest physical changes such as increased muscle size. The most severe and unexpected side effects that come from steroid use are emotional.

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Steroid usage can lead to an increase in impulses. These impulses can lead to dangerous activities such as other drug use and taking unnecessary risks. The steroid user may notice that they are more impulsive than normal and try to offset this by using depressants such as alcohol to combat this side effect. In addition, these impulses can lead to what is known as “roid rage.” This phenomenon is the quick anger that is often seen in steroid users. The steroid user may become very angry over insignificant events. Despite the fact that this side effect of steroids is the most commonly reported, it is difficult to prove the connection between specific anger outbursts and steroid use. As notes, many of the personality characteristics of steroid users are different in the first place, making it difficult to judge whether steroids increases their general tendency towards anger. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that when volunteers were given high doses of steroids, they often reported increased levels of aggression.


Mania is an additional side effect of steroid usage. When a steroid user experiences mania they are losing touch with reality. The loss of reality can result in the user doing things that they would normally avoid such as theft and other illegal activities. Mania can cause the user to be in a better-than-normal mood, despite their circumstances, or to be extremely irritable. Mania can also lead to delusions or hallucinations.


Depression can result from withdrawal from the drug and can be severe enough to lead to suicide.The severity of depression varies from user to user, but research shows that steroid users may turn to other drugs to alleviate their symptoms if any of the emotional side effects are painful enough, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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