What is Steroid Induced Psychosis?

Table of Contents

Induced Psychosis

In the pursuit of enhanced physique and athletic performance, the use of illegal anabolic steroids like Anadrol (oxymetholone), Anavar (oxandrolone), Dianabol (methandienone), Winstrol (stanozolol), and Restandol (testosterone undecanoate) has become increasingly prevalent. While these drugs may offer short-term gains, they bring with them a host of mental health risks that are often overlooked. This article delves into these risks, aiming to provide a comprehensive understanding of the mental health implications of using illegal anabolic steroids.

What Are
Anabolic Steroids?

Anabolic steroids, scientifically known as anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), are a class of synthetic substances that closely resemble the male sex hormone, testosterone. They are composed of anabolic and androgenic properties; “anabolic” refers to the muscle-building effects, and “androgenic” refers to increased male sexual characteristics.

Origins and Development

The development of anabolic steroids dates back to the 1930s when they were first synthesized to treat hypogonadism, a condition where the testes do not produce sufficient testosterone for average growth, development, and sexual functioning. These substances have evolved over the years, and various forms have been created for medical and athletic performance purposes.

Mechanism of Action

Anabolic steroids work by imitating the properties of naturally occurring testosterone. When consumed, they bind to androgen receptors in the cells, increasing protein synthesis and enhancing muscle growth and strength. They also have the effect of decreasing the fat in the body, which further contributes to muscle development.

While the therapeutic use of these substances is legal and medically regulated, anabolic steroids are more infamously known for their use in sports and bodybuilding. Athletes and bodybuilders often misuse these drugs in an attempt to enhance physical performance or improve their physique. The use of anabolic steroids in competitive sports is considered unethical and is strictly banned by most sports organizations.

Legal Status

The legal status of anabolic steroids varies from country to country. In some countries, they are strictly controlled substances, available only by prescription. However, their non-medical use is illegal in many places and can be subject to legal penalties.

The Appeal and the Risks

The appeal of anabolic steroids in sports and bodybuilding stems from their ability to increase muscle mass, strength, and endurance rapidly. However, this comes with significant risks, including the potential for severe side effects like liver damage, heart problems, hormonal imbalances, and mental health issues, among others.

Anabolic steroids are powerful substances with both medical and non-medical uses. While they can be beneficial in treating certain medical conditions, their misuse, especially in the context of sports and bodybuilding, poses significant health risks, including steroid induced psychosis. It is this dichotomy that makes anabolic steroids a subject of ongoing debate and scrutiny in the fields of medicine, sports ethics, and law enforcement.

Mental Health Risks
Associated with Illegal Steroids

The illicit use of anabolic steroids such as Anadrol, Anavar, Dianabol, Winstrol, and Restandol has become a pressing concern in the realms of sports and bodybuilding. However, the allure of these substances often overshadows the severe mental health risks they pose. These synthetic compounds, mimicking the effects of testosterone, can profoundly disrupt the delicate balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to a spectrum of psychological issues.

Mood Swings and Aggression ("Roid Rage")

One of the most notable psychological effects of steroid abuse is the phenomenon commonly known as “roid rage.” This term refers to the extreme mood swings and increased aggression experienced by users. These mood fluctuations can range from a sense of invincibility and euphoria to intense irritability, hostility, and aggression. This heightened state of aggression can have severe consequences, affecting personal relationships and professional life and even leading to violent behaviors. The exact mechanism behind these mood alterations is complex but is primarily linked to how steroids affect the brain’s limbic system, which is responsible for emotional regulation.

Alcohol is ingrained into our culture due to its wide association with having fun, relaxing, or enjoying a vacation. However, people can use it in excess, which may lead to addiction.

Unfortunately, alcohol and our bodies do not mix well. Alcohol acts as a slow poison to our bodies, causing thousands of deaths by liver damage and other complications every year.

Anxiety and Depression

Steroid use can also lead to significant psychological distress, manifesting as anxiety and depression. These mental health issues can be particularly pronounced during or after the cessation of steroid use, often exacerbated by the body’s struggle to restore hormonal balance. Users may experience heightened levels of anxiety, panic attacks, and a pervasive sense of unease. Similarly, depression can be a significant consequence, characterized by feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite, and, in severe cases, suicidal ideation. The depressive symptoms are often attributed to the withdrawal effects as the body attempts to adapt to the absence of artificially elevated hormone levels.

Addiction and Dependence

The addictive potential of steroids is another serious concern. Users may develop both a physical and psychological dependence on these substances. This dependency can lead to a compulsive need to continue using steroids despite being aware of their adverse effects. When attempting to cease use, individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced libido, and intense cravings for steroids. This addiction can trap users in a cycle of continuous use and withdrawal, further exacerbating mental health issues.

Psychotic Symptoms

In some cases, especially with high doses or prolonged use, steroids can induce psychotic symptoms. These include paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. Such symptoms are particularly alarming as they represent a significant detachment from reality. Users may become suspicious or fearful without reason, believe in things that have no basis in reality, or see and hear things that are not there. These psychotic episodes can be highly distressing, not only for the users but also for those around them.

Each of these mental health issues highlights the dangerous nature of abusing anabolic steroids. While the physical side effects like liver damage and cardiovascular issues are often emphasized, the psychological impact is equally detrimental and warrants equal attention. The decision to use these substances must be weighed against these severe risks to mental well-being. For individuals already using these steroids, understanding these risks is the first step towards seeking help and potentially averting the long-term psychological damage they can inflict.

Individual Steroids
and Their Mental Health Risks

The mental health risks associated with the use of illegal anabolic steroids are not uniform; they vary significantly depending on the specific substance used. Below is an expanded look at the mental health risks linked to some commonly abused steroids: Anadrol, Anavar, Dianabol, Winstrol, and Restandol.

Anadrol is renowned for its potent anabolic effects, but it also comes with a high risk of severe psychological side effects. Users often report experiencing intense mood swings, irritability, and aggression. These mood disturbances can be so severe that they interfere with daily functioning and personal relationships. The rapid increase in aggression, often termed “roid rage,” can lead to impulsive, reckless behavior, posing a danger to both the user and others around them.

Often perceived as one of the milder steroids, Anavar’s impact on mental health can still be significant. Users may experience mood swings, though generally less intense than with stronger steroids. However, prolonged use of Anavar can lead to depression and anxiety, especially after discontinuing the drug. This can result in a decreased sense of well-being and prolonged emotional instability.

Dianabol is one of the most popular steroids due to its effectiveness in muscle building. While it can cause an initial euphoria and heightened energy, these effects are often short-lived. The comedown from Dianabol can lead to severe depression and a sense of emptiness or hopelessness. The stark contrast between the elevated mood while on the drug and the subsequent low can be particularly jarring, contributing to a cycle of continued use to avoid depressive symptoms.

Commonly used in cutting cycles for its ability to preserve lean muscle mass, Winstrol can have notable effects on mental health. Users may experience increased anxiety and aggression, which can become problematic in social and occupational settings. Additionally, Winstrol can lead to mood swings and a general sense of unease or dissatisfaction, impacting overall mental well-being.

Used medically for testosterone replacement therapy, Restandol can disrupt the body’s natural hormonal balance when abused, leading to various mental health issues. These can include mood swings, irritability, and even cognitive impairments. Long-term abuse can result in lasting hormonal imbalances, which may cause persistent mood disorders and difficulty in managing emotions.

While the physical benefits of these steroids are often highlighted, the mental health risks they pose cannot be overstated. Each steroid carries risks, which is crucial for anyone considering its use. The psychological impact of these substances can be profound and long-lasting, underscoring the importance of approaching their use with caution and awareness of the potential consequences.

Preventative Measures
and Management Strategies

Addressing the mental health risks associated with the use of illegal anabolic steroids requires a multifaceted approach that includes both preventative measures and management strategies. Expanding on these approaches can offer a more comprehensive understanding of how to mitigate the risks and deal with the consequences of steroid abuse.


Educational Initiatives

Education plays a pivotal role in preventing steroid abuse. This includes informing athletes, bodybuilders, and the general public about the potential mental health risks associated with steroids. Educational programs should be designed to reach individuals at all levels, from school-aged children in athletic programs to adults in professional and recreational sports. These programs can focus on the dangers of steroid use, the benefits of natural bodybuilding, and healthy alternative methods for enhancing performance and physique.


Medical and Psychological Screening

For individuals who are prescribed steroids for medical reasons, rigorous medical and psychological screening is essential. This screening can help identify any pre-existing mental health conditions that may be exacerbated by steroid use. For those in the athletic community, coaches, trainers, and medical professionals should be trained to recognize the signs of steroid abuse and its psychological effects, enabling early intervention.


Support Systems and Counseling

Providing robust support systems for individuals struggling with steroid addiction or experiencing mental health issues due to steroid use is critical. This support can come from counseling services, support groups, and rehabilitation programs. Counseling can address not only the addiction aspect but also the underlying psychological issues that may have led to steroid use. Peer support groups can offer a sense of community and understanding, often vital for recovery.


Promoting Natural Bodybuilding and Athletic Excellence

Encouraging natural bodybuilding and athletic practices is an effective preventive measure. This can be achieved through campaigns highlighting the achievements of athletes who have succeeded without resorting to steroids. Additionally, fitness and bodybuilding competitions can have stricter regulations and testing for steroid use, promoting a clean sports environment.


Regulatory Measures and Law Enforcement

Strengthening the laws and regulations surrounding the distribution and use of illegal steroids is crucial. This includes not only the enforcement of existing laws but also the development of new legislation to close loopholes that allow for the illicit distribution of these substances. Collaboration between law enforcement, sporting bodies, and healthcare providers is essential to curb the illegal steroid trade effectively.


Accessible Mental Health Services

Making mental health services more accessible to those who are using or have used steroids is also important. This can involve integrating mental health assessments and treatment options into healthcare settings frequented by individuals at risk of steroid abuse. These services should be tailored to address the unique challenges faced by steroid users, including dealing with withdrawal symptoms, steroid induced psychosis, mood disorders, and other psychological effects.


Research and Development

Ongoing research into the effects of steroids on mental health is vital. This research can lead to more effective treatment strategies and preventive measures. It can also provide a deeper understanding of why individuals turn to steroids and how best to support them in making healthier choices.


A comprehensive approach involving education, medical oversight, supportive counseling, promotion of natural athletic practices, stringent regulatory measures, accessible mental health services, and ongoing research is essential in addressing the mental health risks associated with illegal steroid use. These strategies not only help in preventing steroid abuse but also provide a framework for effectively managing steroid induced psychosis and the psychological effects in those who have used these substances.

Solace Is
Here For You

While the allure of enhanced physical performance and muscular physique might draw individuals towards the use of anabolic steroids, it’s crucial to remember the significant mental and physical health risks involved. Solace Treatment is dedicated to providing comprehensive support and care for those facing the challenges of steroid misuse and its associated mental health issues.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of steroid use or steroid induced psychosis, we encourage you to reach out for help. Explore our range of treatment options tailored to your needs, or contact us directly to talk about our treatment for psychosis or schedule a consultation with our expert team. Don’t let steroid abuse dictate your life’s path; take the first step towards recovery and well-being with Solace Treatment today.

Verify Your Insurance

Professionals are standing by! Insurance could cover up to 100% of the cost of treatment.


Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances similar to the male hormone testosterone. They have both anabolic (muscle-building) and androgenic (masculinizing) effects. They are legally prescribed for specific medical conditions but are often misused for enhancing athletic performance and muscle growth.

The risks include both physical and psychological effects. Physical risks involve liver damage, heart problems, and hormonal imbalances. Psychological risks include mood swings, aggression, depression, and, in some cases, psychosis.

Yes, anabolic steroids can be addictive. Users might develop a dependency on these drugs and experience withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, restlessness, and depression when they stop using them.

Steroid withdrawal refers to the symptoms that occur when a person who has been using steroids regularly stops taking them. Management typically involves a gradual reduction of steroid use under medical supervision, along with supportive therapies and treatments.

Solace Treatment offers specialized programs for individuals recovering from steroid abuse. This includes medical supervision, psychological counseling, and personalized treatment plans to address both physical and mental health aspects of recovery.

Recovery is possible, but it depends on various factors like the duration and intensity of steroid use, the individual’s overall health, and adherence to a comprehensive treatment plan. Solace Treatment provides the necessary support and resources to maximize the chances of a full recovery.

Yes, there are legal and safer alternatives to anabolic steroids. These include natural supplements, a well-balanced diet, and an appropriate exercise regimen. Consulting with health and fitness professionals can guide effective and safe muscle-building strategies.

The timeline varies for each individual, depending on the extent of steroid use and their physical and mental health. Generally, improvements can be seen within a few weeks to months after stopping use, especially with appropriate treatment and support.

Yes, Solace Treatment understands the impact of steroid abuse on family members. It offers support services, including counseling and educational resources, to help families cope and assist in the recovery process.

Getting started with treatment at Solace Treatment is simple. You can visit our website to learn more about our services or contact us directly to schedule a consultation. Our team is ready to provide you with the information and support you need to begin the journey to recovery.


  1. Oxymetholone Uses, Side Effects & Warnings. (n.d.). Drugs.com. https://www.drugs.com/mtm/oxymetholone.html
  2. Oxandrolone Uses, Side Effects & Warnings. (n.d.). Drugs.com. https://www.drugs.com/mtm/oxandrolone.html
  3. Hervey, G. R., Knibbs, A. V., Burkinshaw, L., Morgan, D., Jones, P. R. M., Chettle, D. R., & Vartsky, D. (1981). Effects of methandienone on the performance and body composition of men undergoing athletic training. Clinical Science, 60(4), 457–461. https://doi.org/10.1042/cs0600457
  4. Stanozolol: Uses, Dosage & Side Effects. (n.d.). Drugs.com. https://www.drugs.com/stanozolol.html
  5. Meikle, A. (2007). Hormone replacement. In Elsevier eBooks (pp. 521–540). https://doi.org/10.1016/b0-08-045044-x/00183-8
  6. Kanayama, G., & Pope, H. G. (2018). History and epidemiology of anabolic androgens in athletes and non-athletes. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 464, 4–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mce.2017.02.039
  7. Herring, M. J., Oskui, P. M., Hale, S. L., & Kloner, R. A. (2013). Testosterone and the Cardiovascular System: A Comprehensive review of the Basic Science literature. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2(4). https://doi.org/10.1161/jaha.113.000271
  8. Anabolic Steroids and other Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs (APEDs) | National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2023, September 27). National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/anabolic-steroids
  9. Tricker, R., Casaburi, R., Storer, T. W., Clevenger, B., Berman, N., Shirazi, A., & Bhasin, S. (1996). The effects of supraphysiological doses of testosterone on angry behavior in healthy eugonadal men–a clinical research center study. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 81(10), 3754–3758. https://doi.org/10.1210/jcem.81.10.8855834
  10. Cscs, D. P. R. (2023, July 13). Are steroids bad for you? Uses, side effects, and dangers. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/are-steroids-bad
  11. Helms, E. R., Aragon, A. A., & Fitschen, P. J. (2014). Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-11-20
  12. Rogers, P. (2022, October 1). Why anabolic steroids are banned in bodybuilding and weightlifting. Verywell Fit. https://www.verywellfit.com/anabolic-steroids-bodybuilding-and-weight-training-3498211
  13. Alturaymi, M. A., Almadhi, O. F., Alageel, Y. S., Dayel, M. B., Alsubayyil, M. S., & Alkhateeb, B. F. (2023). The association between prolonged use of oral corticosteroids