Background: The knowledge concerning the long-term effect of former anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS)-use on mental health is sparse.
Aim: This study aims to investigate whether previous AAS-use affects mental health, present sociodemographic data, sport activity and substance abuse in a retrospective 30-year follow-up study of former elite athletes.
Methods: Swedish male-elite power sport athletes (n=683) on the top 10 national ranking lists during any of the years 1960-1979 in wrestling, Olympic lifting, powerlifting and the throwing events in track and field answered a questionnaire.
Results: At least 20% of the former athletes admitted previous AAS-use. They had more often sought professional expertise for mental problems and had used illicit drugs compared to those not having used AAS. The AAS-users also differed in former sport activity pattern compared to non AAS-users.
Conclusions: It is clear that a relationship exists between use of AAS and mental-health problems. Further studies need to be done in order to clarify this relationship.
Keywords: Anabolic steroids; Athletics; Doping; Drug use; Psychology.