The Most media reports would have you believe steroid users are predominantly young men suffering a “crisis of male ego” who are on a “deadly crusade to get ripped”. The focus tends to be on health harms and the danger associate with using these substances. After critically assessing the research in this field; they find people use steroids for a variety of reasons. And while steroid use does carry risks, not all users will develop personal problems or cause harm to others.

Synthetic variations

Anabolic-androgenic steroids are synthetic variations of the male sex hormone testosterone. “Anabolic” refers to the drug’s capacity to increase protein synthesis; which results in increase muscle tissue. “Androgenic” refers to its properties in promoting the development of male sex characteristics (for example, deep voice and body hair).

Steroids are available via prescription, for example to treat testosterone deficiency in men. But as many people use steroids for non medical reasons; so they are often illegally obtained. But other indicators, such as the volume of steroids confiscate at the country’s borders; also the number of steroid users accessing needle and syringe programs, paint a different picture.

The most commonly identify side effects are cosmetic in nature (for example, acne); which are often reversible once steroid use is halted. But several serious health harms have link with steroid use, too. There’s a growing body of evidence showing an association between the continue use of steroids and long-term health risks; which including heart disease and stroke and cognitive deficiencies.

Greater health risks

The type of steroids used, the dosage and the length of time; so someone has using steroids are all relevant factors. So depending on their patterns of use; hence some people who use steroids will run greater health risks than others. Another frequently cited side effect of non medical steroid use is aggression and violence. In the mid-1980s, the notion steroid use leads to aggressive or violent behaviour became widespread, giving rise to the term “roid rage”.

While some people who use steroids report increase irritation; so the complexity of the relationship between hormones and behaviour suggests violent outbursts can’t simply be accord to using steroids. A narrative center on public health harms; so the potential for violent behaviour and psychological disturbance naturally prioritises repressive means to combat the issue (for example, the criminalisation of drug users).

At the same time, they need to acknowledge the role of pleasure and other benefits in the use of steroids. Failing to do so may hinder our ability to address the phenomenon and explore alternative regulatory models. Rational and critical debates on this topic are particularly important in a world that appears increasingly eager to explore the opportunities for human enhancement.