Psychiatric and medical effects of anabolic-androgenic steroid use. A controlled study of 160 athletes

Psychiatric and medical effects of anabolic-androgenic steroid use. A controlled study of 160 athletes / Harrison G. Pope Jr, David L. Katz. - (Archives of general psychiatry 51 (1994) 5 (May); p. 375-382)

  • PMID: 8179461
  • DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.1994.03950050035004


Background: We sought to expand on preliminary findings suggesting that anabolic-androgenic steroids produce psychiatric effects in some athletes who use them.

Methods: We compared 88 athletes who were using steroids with 68 nonusers, using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R to diagnose psychiatric syndromes occurring in association with steroid use (if applicable) and in the absence of steroid use. Demographic, medical, and laboratory measures were also performed.

Results: Steroid users displayed more frequent gynecomastia, decreased mean testicular length, and higher cholesterol-high-density lipoprotein ratios than nonusers. Most strikingly, 23% of steroid users reported major mood syndromes--mania, hypomania, or major depression--in association with steroid use. Steroid users displayed mood disorders during steroid exposure significantly more frequently than in the absence of steroid exposure (P < .001) and significantly more frequently than nonusers (P < .01). Users rarely abused other drugs simultaneously with steroids.

Conclusion: Major mood disturbances associated with anabolic-androgenic steroids may represent an important public health problem for athletes using steroids and sometimes for the victims of their irritability and aggression.


Research / Study
1 May 1994
Katz, David L.
Pope, Harrison G. Jr.
United States of America
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Harvard Medical School (HMS)
McLean Hospital
Doping classes
S1. Anabolic Agents
Medical terms
Health effects
Psychiatric disorders
Substance use research
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Date generated
11 February 2013
Date of last modification
6 December 2021
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