What Is the Connection between Steroids and Depression?

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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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Depression is a psychological ailment that can produce short-term or long-term bouts of sadness, hopelessness, and lethargy. Some medical researchers and general critics claim that substances used to enhance performance and treat certain conditions — steroids — may induce depression. Evidence seems to suggest a link between depression and both steroid use and steroid discontinuation.

The alleged consequences of steroid abuse are well-documented. Steroid psychosis and so-called "‘roid rage" occur when extreme mania and aggression manifest after overuse of steroid substances. In some cases, the use of steroids and depression may serve as a precursor to these extreme states of mind. These effects, along with other harmful consequences like paranoia and suicidal thoughts, seem to occur after long-term steroid abuse. In the short term, steroid use may produce opposite results, like increased energy and jubilance.

Scientific studies hint at a link between steroids and depression. Anabolic steroids in particular are notorious for their supposed side effects, but commonly prescribed steroids used for medical treatments may possess many of the same risks. Various controlled research has shown that anywhere from 20 to 75 percent of individuals taking a particular kind of adrenal steroid treatment, called glucosteroids, show signs of significant mood disturbances and potential depression.


The negative link between steroids and depression may result from the substance’s impact on the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. These portions of the body’s endocrine system help regulate chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, and some of these neurotransmitters control stress. If the duties of these glands are hindered and unbalanced, then stress levels elevate and become unchecked. This creates a greater susceptibility to certain psychiatric disorders like chronic depression.

Addiction cycles also contribute to negative effects of steroids and depression symptoms. Steroids can easily become addictive, particularly for athletes who desire the muscle building that the substance can deliver in the short term. As the individual continually increases dosages and amounts of use, a dependence can develop in individuals vulnerable to addictive patterns of behavior. This causes long-term use and the resulting harmful consequences. Addictive substances work in large part by altering brain wave activity, which can then help lay the foundation for psychological disturbances such as depression.

Steroid effects from withdrawal seem to be a subject of lesser understanding. The same short-term effects as documented above may occur when the body begins to break its dependence on steroids, and depression is often one of the most prominent steroid withdrawal effects. This effect may happen because the body becomes flooded with estrogen that has been suppressed by testosterone during heavy steroid use, and large doses of estrogen may cause symptoms like irritability and depression. Although these symptoms may be highly unpleasant, in the long run they may restore a dependent individual’s physical and mental health.


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Post 1

Depression is a meaningless term, It's a big umbrella that 1,000 different problems are put under. You can't test for it and you can't quantify the severity.

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