The Central Effects of Androgenic-anabolic Steroid Use

J Addict Med. 2018 May/Jun;12(3):184-192. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000395.


: Millions of men use androgenic-anabolic steroids (AAS) to stimulate muscle growth and improve physical appearance. Although 1 out of 3 people who uses androgenic-anabolic steroids develops a steroid use disorder, the effects of the drugs on the central nervous system and the psyche are still not well understood. Although most addictive substances improve mood immediately after administration, AAS exert less pronounced euphoric effects. Instead, they are primarily taken for the delayed gratification of increased muscle mass. Withdrawal from AAS may lead to a range of somatic and psychiatric symptoms, and, in many cases, comprehensive treatment supervised by an endocrinologist and a psychiatrist is required.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anabolic Agents / pharmacology
  • Androgens / adverse effects*
  • Androgens / pharmacology
  • Athletes
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / chemically induced
  • Male
  • Steroids / adverse effects*
  • Steroids / pharmacology
  • Testosterone / blood*
  • Testosterone / pharmacology
  • Testosterone Congeners / adverse effects*
  • Testosterone Congeners / pharmacology


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Androgens
  • Steroids
  • Testosterone Congeners
  • Testosterone