According to a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, anabolic steroids and reduced mental health later on in life are linked. This study was conducted with researchers analyzing data collected from on elite male strength athletes. The study is also published in CERA.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg, found that 20 percent of the people in the study admitted to using steroids. They learned that there was a connection between steroidal abuse (AAS) and mental health conditions.
“We found a clear link. AAS users were more likely to have been treated for depression, concentration problems and aggressive behavior,” says Claudia Fahlke, director at CERA.
The researchers learned that the athletes were also more likely to have abused other types of illegal drugs as well as alcohol. So far, there is no solid information about whether the use of steroids caused the mental conditions or if it works the other way around.
“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. This suggests that the anti-doping efforts remain very important, both in and outside of sports,” says Fahlke.
With numerous athletes being investigated for steroid use every year, and a higher number of elite athlete suicides and domestic abuse cases occurring, studies like these can help provide doctors with a better means of treating mental health conditions like severe depression. Depression affects millions of people worldwide, including elite athletes. Various drugs are often prescribed to patients with depression, and many of them are not proven to work any better than placebos and talk therapy. Two of those medications include Paxil and Effexor, which are a part of the SSRI class of drugs. Paxil and Effexor are used by millions of people worldwide, but they can cause serious side effects including violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior. The pills have also been proven to cause birth defects in babies whose mothers take the pills while pregnant. Some of the birth defects linked to Paxil and Effexor include PPHN, oral clefts, neural tube defects and spina bifida.