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Are Anabolic Steroids Addictive?

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Updated April 08, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Are Anabolic Steroids Addictive?
Answer: Some individuals who abuse anabolic steroids can develop patterns of behavior that are typical symptoms of people who are addicted. Those behaviors include continuing use despite negative consequences, spending excessive time and effort in obtaining drugs, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they stop using.

Some anabolic steroid users continue using the drugs despite of experiencing physical problems and problems in their social relationships. The percentage of those who continue use in spite of negative consequences is not known.

Classic Addiction Symptoms

Many steroid abusers spend large amounts of time and money to obtain the drugs they use. When they stop taking steroids, users can experience withdrawal symptoms that can include mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive and craving for steroids.

One of the most serious withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping steroid use is depression, because it can sometimes lead to suicide attempts, the NIDA reports.

Research reveals that if untreated, depression associated with anabolic steroid withdrawal can persist for a year or longer after use of the drug stops.

Back to: Anabolic Steroids FAQ

Sources:

National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Anabolic Steroid Abuse." Research Report Series Updated July 2012

The Partnership at DrugFree.org. "Steroids." Drug Guide. Accessed March 2014.

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